BREAKING NEWS: On Friday, August 2nd, Ms Johnsons Motion to Open Discovery to Obtain a “non-edited” version of the Video was denied by Judge William F. Jung, Fl.
Plaintiff Alva Johnson, through counsel, respectfully requests that the Court open discovery for the limited purpose of allowing her to obtain the original unaltered video file that purportedly evidences the incident in which Defendant Donald J. Trump kissed her at a campaign event in 2016.
A forensic expert analysis indicates that the video provided to the Court and produced to Ms. Johnson is not the original recording, but is instead a clip from a longer video file.
Accordingly, Ms. Johnson requests that the Court reopen discovery for the limited purpose of permitting Ms. Johnson to obtain the original video and test its authenticity, and that the Court stay all other deadlines.
Counsel for Ms. Johnson have conferred with counsel for defendants President Trump and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (“Defendants”) and Defendants have indicated that they will oppose the relief sought herein.
Defendants produced an eight and a half hour video to Ms. Johnson on Friday July 5, 2019.
Her deposition was scheduled for the following Monday morning. Within that lengthy video is a 15-second segment that shows President Trump in an RV with Ms. Johnson.
Ms. Johnson maintains that the video shows President Trump looking her over, grabbing her by the shoulders, and kissing her while she tried to move her head and her mouth away from him.
Defendant maintains that the video shows Ms. Johnson kissing President Trump. Prior to production of the 15-second video, the video was spliced into over eight hours of other video.
As such, that initially-produced eight-hour spliced-together video has no metadata that would identify the source of the 15-second segment or would show whether and when the segment was altered.
The only metadata available is for the longer video. That metadata indicates that compilation video was created no later than June 12, 2019, almost a month before it was finally produced to Ms. Johnson on the eve of her deposition.
On July 10, 2019, Defendants filed the 15-second segment as a separate video with the Court and finally served it as a separate video on Ms. Johnson. Dkts. 74-75.
The next day, during a telephonic hearing, the Court indicated that the video did not appear to support Ms. Johnson’s battery allegations, and directed Ms. Johnson and her counsel to share the video with disinterested third parties and reassess whether to proceed with their battery claim.
Ms. Johnson takes that admonition seriously. In order to make a careful decision of how to proceed—under threat of sanctions from the defendants—Ms. Johnson requested and received a two-week extension of time to file her amended complaint. See Dkts. 80-81.
In addition, she made a few simple requests of Defendants to assist her in this important decision.
Most critically, she wanted the original video with its metadata (so she could ensure that the video was not altered in any way) and she wanted to know when Defendants received that video (so she could understand why Defendants waited until the eve of her deposition to produce it).
Defendants refused to comply with these requests.
Because she could get no information from defendants—other than their repeated assertion that the 15 second segment was the original unaltered video—Ms. Johnson retained a forensic expert to examine the video.
That forensic examination has raised some serious questions regarding the provenance, authenticity, and completeness of that video.
Specifically, the metadata of the version produced on July 10, 2019 indicates that the 15-second file is an extract from a longer file, and that the extract was created on February 25, 2019—the date this lawsuit was filed.
While Ms. Johnson is mindful of the Court’s admonitions, she also believes she is entitled to a full and fair record surrounding the video recording that caused the Court to believe it may be in her best interests to not pursue the battery claim.
Her requests are modest, but important. For the reasons set forth herein, she respectfully asks the Court to reopen discovery to allow her to conduct discovery necessary to determine when the video was altered, to try to authenticate the video, and to access the original unaltered video.
She also asks the Court to suspend the deadline for her to file an amended complaint until she has had an opportunity to pursue and complete this limited discovery.