Trump Campaign Settles With Artist Who Said He Was Assaulted

President Trump’s campaign has settled a lawsuit filed by a Boston artist and documentary filmmaker who said he was assaulted by a staff member at an event in New Hampshire in 2015.

Under a settlement agreement signed on Dec. 23, the Trump campaign agreed to pay the artist, Rod Webber, $20,000 in damages. The settlement does not include an admission of wrongdoing.

The Trump campaign could not immediately be reached for comment.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Webber became known as the “Flower Man” for distributing flowers to major political candidates in what he said was a gesture of peace. He attended campaign events and asked the candidates questions.

He also has a reputation as a provocateur. After a $120,000 duct-taped banana was eaten by a performance artist at the Art Basel fair in Miami Beach, Fla., last year, Mr. Webber wrote “Epstien didn’t kill himself” in red lipstick on the blank wall where it had hung, misspelling the name of the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. (A criminal mischief charge against Mr. Webber was dropped, CBS Miami reported.)

Mr. Webber’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire in 2018, originally sought $5 million in damages.

According to the complaint, Mr. Webber attended a Trump campaign rally in Rochester, N.H., in September 2015 as a journalist. During the rally, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Webber to name his favorite Bible verse. Mr. Webber responded by paraphrasing 1 Timothy 3, which says that anyone who “aspires to the office of overseer” should be “not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.”

After he spoke, Mr. Webber was pushed and punched “viciously in the kidneys” by Trump supporters, according to the complaint, and later received death threats.

In October 2015, Mr. Webber attended a bipartisan political event in Manchester, N.H., that was attended by several candidates, including Mr. Trump. After Mr. Trump spoke, he opened the floor for questions.

In videos of the incident, published by The Washington Post and shared by Mr. Webber, Mr. Webber is heard saying, “Mr. Trump, I was physically assaulted at a rally in Rochester,” to which Mr. Trump responds, “You look healthy to me.”

Mr. Webber claimed he had not heard Mr. Trump's response, so he left his seat to retrieve a microphone in the back of the room at the suggestion of Edward Deck, who is identified in court documents as a security employee with the Trump campaign and is listed as a defendant in Mr. Webber’s lawsuit. When he tried to return, Mr. Webber said, he was blocked from re-entering the room and was pushed into a hall by several men, including a Manchester police officer.

Mr. Deck and others threw Mr. Webber “headfirst into a table,” according to the complaint. Mr. Webber was later arrested outside the venue, but criminal charges were later dropped, the Union Leader reported.

In court documents, the defendants cited a New Hampshire law that states that force is justifiable when a law enforcement officer believes it to be necessary. The defendants also cited another state law that allows the use of force to “maintain decorum.”

The Trump campaign and Cleveland, Waters and Bass, the New Hampshire law firm representing the campaign and Mr. Deck, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Webber, who represented himself in the lawsuit, said in an interview on Monday that the settlement was “simultaneously vindication, as well as a tragic miscarriage of justice, not so much for me but for everyone out there who’s been at the receiving end of one of Trump’s goons.” He added that he did not have to sign a nondisclosure agreement as part of the settlement.

In a separate settlement, the Manchester Police Department agreed to pay Mr. Webber $15,000, said Emily Rice, the Manchester city solicitor.

Mr. Trump and his campaign are defending themselves in other lawsuits filed by people who say they were assaulted at campaign events, consuming considerable amounts of campaign money.

On Monday, a judge granted a motion to dismiss Mr. Webber’s lawsuit with prejudice, meaning that he cannot file additional lawsuits on the same grounds.

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