The White House disputed the account.
“This accusation is absurd on its face,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in a statement. “This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eyewitness accounts.”
According to the suit, two campaign officials, Karen Giorno and Pam Bondi, the Florida attorney general at the time, walked out of the vehicle after Mr. Trump. Neither seemed to acknowledge what had happened at the time, according to Ms. Johnson’s account, and both denied witnessing inappropriate behavior to The New Yorker and The Post.
Ms. Johnson, 43, an event planner and human relations consultant who lives in Alabama, decided to ignore the episode and move on, but changed her mind months later after The Washington Post published video that showed Mr. Trump using vulgar language to describe unwanted groping and kissing.
“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them,” he said in the video. “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it.”
Retraumatized, Ms. Johnson contacted a lawyer and quit the campaign, according to the suit. The lawyer declined to represent her, but not because her case lacked merit. (The lawyer, whom The Post did not name, told the publication that he had declined the case “for business reasons.”)
After Mr. Trump was elected, Ms. Johnson again tried to put the episode behind her, but was prompted to act by what she saw as racist and sexist actions carried out by the Trump administration, her lawyer said.
“She did work for his campaign from the very beginning and did a lot of work to help him get elected and ultimately she just kind of felt very guilty and responsible for that,” Mr. Zavareei said. “She wanted to open up and be honest and tell her story and try and do what she could to redeem herself.”