President Donald Trump’s election campaign has settled a lawsuit with Boston-based Rod Webber, an artist and documentary-maker who claims to have been assaulted by a member of the commander-in-chief’s campaign staff in 2015.
The New York Times reports that the settlement was confirmed and signed on December 23rd. Under the terms of the agreement, the Trump campaign will pay Webber $20,000 in damages.
However, the campaign has refused to admit any wrongdoing.
Webber, says the Times, had originally demanded the campaign compensate him at least $5 million.
In his lawsuit, Webber recalled a Trump campaign rally he had attended in Rochester, New Hampshire, in September 2015. At the time, Webber was working as a journalist.
Donald Trump, then one of many prospective candidates for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, asked Webber to name his favorite Bible verse. Webber replied by paraphrasing Timothy 3, which suggests that anyone “who aspires to the office of overseer” should be neither “quarrelsome” nor a “lover of money.”
According to the New York Times’ coverage of the lawsuit, Trump’s supporters were quick to find fault with Webber’s statement—he was, purportedly, assaulted by others at the rally. In his complaint, Webber says he was pushed and “viciously” punched in the kidneys.
Webber garnered media attention when he attended a bipartisan political event in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 2015. There, he confronted Trump about his treatment, telling the soon-to-be-president: “Mr. Trump, I was physically assaulted at a rally in Rochester.”
Trump, however, did not seem to care.
“You look healthy to me,” Trump replied.
Webber said he could not hear Trump’s response. Acting on the alleged suggestion of a venue security guard, Webber moved to the back of the room to retrieve a microphone; when he tried to return, he found his path blocked by several men, including a uniformed Manchester police officer, who pushed him into a hallway.
Webber claims he was then slammed “headfirst into a table” by the security guard and other members of the crowd.
“Defendant [Security Guard] wantonly and maliciously assaulted and battered Plaintiff Webber who was exercising his first amendment [sic] right as a journalist,” the lawsuit said.
While Webber was later arrested, all charges against him were quickly dropped.
The settlement emphasizes that the Trump campaign, along with the other name defendants, agreed to pay Webber $20,000 but did not admit any wrongdoing.
“The Parties desire to resolve their differences, including the Litigation, and have engaged in settlement discussions to seek a mutual resolution of all of Plaintiff’s claims against the Campaign Defendants by agreement, without any admission of liability, fault, wrongdoing, or violation by the Campaign Defendants,” the settlement states.
Insider and the New York Times both note that neither the Trump campaign nor its attorneys responded to requests for comment.