A former Trump campaign staffer who accused Donald Trump of forcibly kissing her without her consent in 2016 has dropped her lawsuit against the President, saying it’s difficult to pursue “justice against a person with unlimited resources.”
“I have made the difficult decision not to pursue my claims at this time,” Alva Johnson, who worked for the campaign in Alabama, said in a statement provided to CNN Thursday by her attorney.
“I am facing a judge who openly questions whether the kiss is worthy of a federal lawsuit and has determined that Mr. Trump’s history of such behavior is not relevant, and I’ve endured on-going threats to my safety,” Johnson said. “I’ve decided for the sake of my family that I will not continue with the case at this time.”
The Daily Beast was the first to report on Johnson’s decision to end her lawsuit.
Trump’s attorney, Charles Harder, said in a statement Thursday that Johnson, by “giving up the case, represents total victory for President Trump, and fully vindicates him of Johnson’s false accusations.”
According to Harder, Johnson signed a nondisclosure agreement with the Trump campaign in 2016 and her statements in court and outside of court regarding Trump and his campaign constitute “numerous breaches” of the agreement.
“The President and Campaign are weighing their legal options against Ms. Johnson at this time, and have demanded that she reimburse them for the attorneys’ fees and costs they incurred in her failed lawsuit,” Harder said.
Johnson’s attorney Hassan Zavareei confirmed to CNN Thursday that Johnson did sign an NDA, but said the document is “unenforceable” and he is “happy to litigate that issue.”
He said the Trump legal team’s demand to pay them back the attorneys’ fees is “nonsense and it’s never going to happen.”
The White House did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Johnson first filed her lawsuit in February, alleging that Trump grabbed her hand and forcibly kissed her without her consent inside an RV in Florida during the 2016 campaign. Johnson also claimed she was underpaid compared to male campaign staffers.
The White House and the Trump campaign denied Johnson’s allegations.
In June, US District Court Judge William Jung dismissed the lawsuit, saying it was a political dispute.
“As currently stated, the Complaint presents a political lawsuit, not a tort and wages lawsuit,” Jung wrote in the order.
He added that the “plaintiff will receive a fair day in court” and allowed for Johnson to file an amended complaint.
Jung also said he felt Johnson deserved a hearing on her battery claim.
“As for the battery case, she is owed her day in court, I don’t see that going away,” he said.
Both parties continued to file motions, and in July, Trump’s legal team released a video of Trump kissing Johnson on what appeared to be her cheek that they said clears him.
“The two have a very brief, innocent interaction that is mutual – and not forcible,” Harder wrote in court documents.
Johnson’s legal team, however, asserted in a court filing that the video proves her accusation of forcible kissing.
In her statement Thursday, Johnson said that she “(rejects) the false narrative that they did nothing wrong.”
“But it is difficult to obtain justice against a person with unlimited resources and a judicial system that has so far refused to hold him accountable,” she said.
Zavareei said in a statement that “while we are disappointed in the result, we take some satisfaction in proving that Alva was telling the truth about what her employer did to her.”
Zavareei said the video shows “Trump grabbing Alva by the shoulders, pulling her into him, and kissing her in front of numerous co-workers and others.”
“Unfortunately, that does not appear to be enough for our judge, who has expressed a very narrow view of what constitutes battery,” Zavareei said.
More than a dozen other women have accused Trump of various forms of sexual misconduct. The President has vehemently denied all the allegations.
CNN’s Caroline Kelly, Maegan Vazquez and MJ Lee contributed to this report.