What started as a small lawsuit by a former Trump campaign staffer to force the resignation of President Donald Trump has turned into a larger battle between the president’s political adversaries and the Trump administration.
A federal judge in Florida last week dismissed a lawsuit filed by a prominent conservative activist and former Trump aide in which Thomas Doherty alleged he was sexually harassed by Trump.
The lawsuit was filed by attorney Thomas Dooley after he complained about being sexually harassed and threatened by Trump at a party in December.
Trump fired Doherty on March 16, 2018, less than a month after the president won the election.
Doherty is a former Florida governor who was on the president for months and has been critical of Trump in recent years.
Doherty’s lawsuit claimed Trump made “a hostile, threatening and obscene sexual advance towards Plaintiff,” according to court documents.
“That is, Plaintiff was physically intimidated by Defendant Donald Trump, and Defendant Donald was able to physically assault Plaintiff with his bare hands and punch Plaintiff multiple times with his fists and a stick,” according a summary of the lawsuit obtained by CNN.
Dooley, who has written about Trump for years, filed the lawsuit in January, saying Trump groped him and threatened him.
Dooley has since accused Trump of making “unreasonable demands” that made him feel “uncomfortable.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleged that Trump assaulted Doherty when the former campaign manager was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat at a January 2017 event.
“This event was intended to be an opportunity for Mr. Doohan to express his opinions on the merits of Mr. Trump’s presidency,” according the filing.
“Mr. Doheny was physically attacked by Defendant Trump during this event.
Defendant Trump’s actions caused Mr. doheny serious physical injury,” the filing said.
Doheny told CNN that he had been working for Trump for a few months when the president allegedly grabbed him and tried to kiss him.
He said he “had the right to be free to express my opinions, and I did.”
He said he was “not in a position to defend myself,” adding that Trump “had no right to physically force me to do something that I didn’t want to do.”
Trump responded to the lawsuit by calling Doherty a “liar” and saying “it’s not true.”
Trump has denied that he has ever physically touched Doherty, who also claims he was a victim of a sexual assault during his time as a Trump campaign adviser.
Trump has been the subject of a wide-ranging sexual harassment investigation since Trump won the 2016 presidential election, when it was revealed that Trump, then a Republican candidate, had been videotaping women who did not want him to run for office.
The allegations led to the resignation in January of former White House Counsel Don McGahn.
A few weeks after the resignation, McGahn released a statement in which he said Trump had “inappropriately touched” him and was “extremely sorry.”
Trump has denied all of the allegations against him, but has said that he is under investigation for possible obstruction of justice by the FBI and the Department of Justice.