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RAGEPATH Overview of Johnson v Trump

This case was one of the most sensational and troubling allegations raised against Donald Trump during the 2016 election campaign. We believe that the case is not credible.

The allegations raised by "Katie Johnson" are chilling and evocatively portrayed. They describe a scene of multiple underage girls held in sexual captivity by Trump and his co-defendant Jeffrey Epstein. Johnson requested that the court grant her leave to sue "in forma pauperis," which means that she would represent herself and be excused from paying traditional court filing fees. In an attached declaration, Johnson (who would have been 35) claimed that she had never earned enough income to warrant filing income taxes. Attempts to communicate with Johnson by the court were returned as undeliverable.

Case Summary

United States Central District of California

Johnson v Trump

Date Filed: 4/26/16

Date Terminated: 5/2/16

Nature of Suit: Civil Rights: Other (Federal Question/Civil Rights Act)

Plaintiff: Katie Johnson

Defendant: Donald Trump

“Katie Johnson alleges that defendants Donald J. Trump and Jeffrey E. Epstein violated her civil rights through sexual and physical abuse and conspired to deprive her of her civil rights. Plaintiff seeks $100,000,000 in compensatory damages [under two statues.] [...] Plaintiff has failed to state a a claim for relief under either statute. First, [...] is a criminal statue that provides for the prosecution of persons who cross a State line with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor. [...] Nothing in the statute provides for a private right of action for civil damages such as Plaintiff seeks here. [...] Plaintiff has not alleged any race-based or class-based animus against her, and consequently her [civil rights] allegations fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.”

Noteworthy Details

During the campaign, a press conference was announced then abruptly canceled, at which Katie Johnson's true identity would have purportedly been revealed. "A woman who has filed federal lawsuits accusing Donald Trump of raping her two decades ago, when she was 13, abruptly canceled a news conference Wednesday at which she was to detail her extraordinary claims against the GOP presidential nominee. [...] Attorney and legal commentator Lisa Bloom announced earlier Wednesday that the woman would appear at Bloom's Woodland Hills law office at 3 p.m. local time and apparently give up the "Jane Doe" pseudonym used in her recent suits. However, at the appointed hour, Bloom said the news conference was off. "Jane Doe has received numerous threats today," Bloom told the assembled journalists and TV cameras. "She has decided she is too afraid to show her face. ... She is in terrible fear."" (Politico, November 2, 2016)

The purported plaintiff in this case filed another lawsuit in New York, represented by an attorney, but withdrew the suit after canceling her press conference. "A woman who accused Donald Trump of raping her two decades ago when she was a 13-year-old aspiring teen model has again dropped a federal lawsuit over the alleged assaults. [...] The accuser's lead attorney, Thomas Meagher of New Jersey, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. He filed a one-page notice dismissing the case Friday evening in federal court in Manhattan. No explanation was given for the action." (Politico, November 4, 2016)

Trump appointed Alex Acosta, the prosecutor who negotiated a controversial plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein (Trump's co-defendant in this lawsuit), to a Cabinet position as Labor Secretary. "A decade ago, a Miami Beach father who traveled to Cambodia to pay for sex with three underage girls was found guilty in federal court and convicted of sex tourism involving children. Kent Frank, 50, was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Miami's U.S. attorney at the time, Alex Acosta, declared in a news release that society "cannot permit such individuals to seek sanctuary in our community." [...] But Acosta, now President Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of labor, made a very different call in another, far more sordid case just months later. The agreement Acosta approved for Palm Beach billionaire Jeffrey Epstein -- a "sweetheart plea deal," according to attorneys for Epstein's victims -- could come back to haunt his Senate confirmation hearing if any senators question Acosta's judgment in one of the most high-profile cases of his career. [...] Epstein, then 55 and defended by an all-star legal team, pleaded guilty to a state charge of soliciting minors for prostitution. He registered as a sex offender in Florida and agreed to pay damages to 40 female victims ranging in age from 13 to 17 years old. As part of the plea agreement negotiated by Acosta's office, Epstein wouldn't be charged in federal court -- even though the feds had drawn up a proposed 53-page indictment that carried potential punishment ranging from a mandatory 10 years in prison up to a life sentence." (Miami Herald, March 3, 2017)

Trump was personal friends with Jeffrey Epstein at the time he was molesting children, and confessed to knowing Epstein had a reputation for liking women "on the younger side." "The estate belonged to New York financier Jeffrey Epstein - a sex offender once linked with former president Bill Clinton, Nobel Prize-winning scientists, Kevin Spacey and British royalty. A stream of young girls allegedly flitted in and out of the house in the mid-aughts, attending naked pool parties and, police records showed, dispensing massages to Epstein and other guests. [...] Donald Trump was Epstein's pal at that time. "He's a lot of fun to be with," Trump said. "It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side." (Washington Post, January 5, 2015