NC Trump staffer resigns amid lawsuit alleging he pulled gun

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Story highlights

  • Civil action brought against former North Carolina staffer for Trump campaign
  • Another ex-staffer claims gun was pulled during a campaign trip in South Carolina

(CNN)A top North Carolina Trump staffer has stepped down amid allegations he pulled a gun on a fellow campaign staffer.

In a civil case filed late Wednesday in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, former North Carolina Trump campaign staffer Vincent Bordini alleges that Earl Phillip, then the campaign's state director, pulled a gun on him as the pair drove to a hotel near Greenville, South Carolina. They were in town in February to check on other campaign members during that state's primary.
    "All of a sudden," the complaint reads, "Vincent saw Phillip pull a gun out from his side of the Jeep."
    Phillip allegedly pressed the barrel of the .45-caliber pistol into Vincent's left knee. According to the complaint, Phillip had previously told Bordini that he always kept a loaded gun in his car.
    Bordini claims that after he said "What the f*** are you doing?" Phillip silently put the gun away. The two safely arrived at their destination.
    According to the complaint, Bordini was aware of "at least two other campaign members" who had experienced similar incidents with Phillip.
    Bordini allegedly reported the incident to Stuart Jolly, Trump's national field director, and Trump's then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. According to the complaint, nothing was done to reprimand Phillip.
    The Trump campaign, also named as a defendant, has not yet responded to CNN's request for comment.
    An attorney for Phillip said his client denies all the allegations contained in the complaint and a defamation case against Bordini is being prepared. It's not believed a police report was filed.

    'A passionate Donald J. Trump supporter'

    According to the complaint, Bordini worked for the McCain campaign in 2008 and has been involved heavily in political activism since then. He was hired to work on the Trump campaign in North Carolina as an IT staffer in December 2015.
    Shortly after the incident, Bordini left the campaign. According to the complaint, he moved his family to distance himself from Phillip.
    "[Bordini] could no longer tolerate working in an environment where his superior could pull a gun on him at any moment," the complaint reads.
    In the complaint, Bordini says the decision to leave the campaign was difficult.
    "Vincent was a longtime GOP operative," the complaint says. "What's more, he truly respected Mr. Trump and had every intention of dedicating himself to getting him elected in November. Vincent forewent alerting authorities because putting Mr. Trump in the White House was his goal. But enough is enough."
    Bordini seeks unspecified "compensatory damages" from Phillip for battery, emotional distress and other allegations and is demanding a trial by jury.
    Attempts to reach Bordini's attorney on Thursday were unsuccessful.

    No police complaint was filed

    Phillip stepped down Thursday from his positions as the state campaign director and from his role as an adviser for the National Diversity Coalition for Trump.
    "He does not want to in any way adversely affect Mr. Trump and his desire to serve as our president," according to Phillip's attorney, William Harding.
    Harding said he questioned Bordini's motivations and wondered why a criminal complaint had not been filed at the time of the incident.
    "Why wouldn't you go to law enforcement to prosecute my client?"
    Phillip had appeared as recently as August 7 at a "Day of Endorsement" with other top Trump advisers, including Lara Trump, Omarosa Manigault and Katrina Pierson, at a Charlotte church.
    He was hired as state director in November 2015 along with Taylor Playforth, who was announced as deputy state director.
    "It is great to announce the additions of Earl and Taylor who will be valuable members of our operation in North Carolina, where I have been leading in every poll for many months," Trump said in a press release on his campaign's website. "I look forward to being back in North Carolina soon as I continue to share my vision to Make America Great Again!"
    Bordini requested a jury trial.