Trump campaign ordered to pay ex-staffer more than $300,000 after trying to enforce an ‘unconstitutional’ nondisclosure agreement

  • Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was ordered to pay more than $300k to a former staffer, per BuzzFeed News.
  • An arbitrator ruled that the campaign tried to enforce an “unconstitutional” nondisclosure agreement.
  • The former staffer’s lawyer accused the Trump campaign of using these NDAs to “silence” critics.

Former President Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign was ordered to pay more than $300,000 in legal fees and expenses to former staffer Alva Johnson, according to an order entered this month in a nonpublic arbitration case.

Johnson, who worked as a staffer in Alabama, will be awarded the fees and expenses after an arbitrator ruled that the campaign tried to enforce a legally unsound nondisclosure agreement (NDA), BuzzFeed News was first to report.

Alva Johnson, who filed a lawsuit against the Trump campaign in 2019, accused the former president of grabbing her and kissing her without her consent during a campaign stop in Tampa, Florida, in 2016.

A federal judge questioned her accusation after a video of the alleged incident appeared to show no inappropriate conduct.

In early September 2019, Johnson decided not to pursue the case, citing ongoing threats to her safety, family reasons, and the difficulty of pursuing justice against a person with “unlimited resources,” CNN reported.

Donald J. Trump For President, Inc consequently filed an arbitration complaint on September 23, 2019, saying that Johnson had breached the confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions of an NDA during the legal battle.

The arbitrator, retired federal magistrate Judge Victor E Bianchini, dismissed the arbitration claim in November, calling the provisions of the NDA “vague and unenforceable,” The New York Times reported.

Johnson’s lawyers subsequently made a motion demanding that Trump’s campaign cover her legal fees and other expenses, the newspaper said.

The March 10 order, which was made public this week, said that Trump’s presidential campaign could not invoke the NDA because it had already been determined to be “unconstitutional” in the cases of Jessica Denson, Omarosa Manigault Newman, and Mary Trump.

Judge Bianchini ordered that the Trump campaign pay $303,285 to cover her legal bills. It must also cover other costs involved in the arbitration.

Johnson’s lawyer Hassan Zavareei told Insider that the campaign uses “unenforceable” NDAs to “bully and silence” critics. “I think the whole idea behind the agreement is to shut people up,” he said.

Referring to the money being awarded to Johnson by the former president’s campaign organization, Zavareei said that “it’s a shame that normal Americans are being forced to pay for Trump’s abusive tactics.”

Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington provided a statement to the media outlet calling the outcome “pathetic and totally contrary to the rule of law and any reasonable sense of fairness.”

Trump’s press office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Saturday morning.