Charles Harder, the celebrity attorney famous for the Hulk Hogan lawsuit that brought down Gawker, is now representing Donald Trump in the latest lawsuit filed by a sexual-misconduct accuser against the president, The Daily Beast has learned.
On Tuesday, Hassan Zavareei, an attorney repping the plaintiff Alva Johnson, said in a brief interview that Harder accepted service on behalf of Trump on March 11, and is serving as the president’s outside counsel for this suit. Zavareei also provided The Daily Beast with a copy of Trump’s “waiver of the service of summons”—necessary because it is nearly impossible to actually serve the president of the United States—which is signed by “Charles J. Harder.”
Harder—who has represented the president in other matters including the lawsuit filed by porn actress Stormy Daniels—did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. After publication of his scorched-earth remarks about the Trump family in Michael Wolff’s book Fire & Fury, Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon received a letter from Harder threatening legal action.
Last year, during the rollout of UNHINGED, a “tell-all” authored by former Apprentice villain and ex-senior Trump administration official Omarosa Manigault Newman, Harder shot the publisher Simon & Schuster a letter warning them of legal action “should you proceed with publishing and selling the Book.”
Harder has also done legal work for First Lady Melania Trump, as well as for Trump son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. Harder also repped the late Roger Ailes, an informal Trump adviser, during the former Fox News chief’s sexual-harassment scandal.
Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker was underwritten by Peter Thiel, the tech billionaire and a prominent ally of Donald Trump’s.
In the new lawsuit, Johnson accuses Trump of grabbing her hand and kissing her without her consent in Tampa, Florida, on August 24, 2016, when she was a staffer on his presidential campaign. When The Washington Post broke the news of the federal lawsuit late last month, the White House, as well as other Trump associates said to be present at the 2016 event, vigorously denied the allegation, with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calling it “absurd on its face.”
In an interview with The Daily Beast last month, Zavareei said that his client “feels partly responsible for helping put a sexual predator into the White House, and she believes she has an obligation to tell her story and to hold him accountable for what he’s done to her but to so many other women.”
President Trump has faced numerous allegations from different women of sexual harassment or assault. The White House has maintained the various accusers are all simply lying.