Donald Trump Must Face Ex-'Apprentice' Star's Defamation Lawsuit
21 March, 2018, 08:23 | Author: Mable Gonzales
Justice Jennifer Schecter in the Manhattan Supreme Court said there was "absolutely no authority" to dismiss or stay a civil lawsuit by Summer Zervos related "purely to unofficial conduct" because Trump was US president.
The decision by Justice Jennifer Schecter of State Supreme Court in Manhattan paves the way for lawyers to seek depositions from several women who accused Mr. Trump of sexual harassment before he was elected and to subpoena Trump campaign records related to his female accusers.
The day that Zervos came forward with her allegations, Trump issued a public statement in which he said that he had never met Zervos in a hotel room, and also denied allegations of sexual misconduct against him at a rally in North Carolina.
Lawyers for the president had asked that the lawsuit be tossed out or delayed until Trump is no longer president.
"No one is above the law", the judge wrote.
The ruling to push forward with Zervos' case "is an important victory", Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet, an organization fighting sexism, said in a statement. "It is settled that the President of the United States has no immunity and is "subject to the laws" for purely private acts", Schecter wrote.
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Kasowitz cited Clinton v. Jones, a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court opinion, which determined that presidents aren't immune from civil actions in federal court but had a footnote where Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that it was "not necessary to consider or decide whether a comparable claim might succeed in a state tribunal". Zervos has claimed that in 2007, while in Trump's NY office, he kissed her on the lips twice, making her "uncomfortable, nervous, and embarrassed".
"We are grateful for the opportunity to prove that defendant falsely branded Ms. Zervos a phony for telling the truth about his unwanted sexual groping", Wang said in an email.
Also on Tuesday, a NY court ruled that Zervos, the former Apprentice contestant, would be allowed to move forward with a defamation suit against the president.
McDougal sued American Media Inc., the company that owns the National Enquirer, which allegedly paid her $150,000 not to speak about her affair. She took a polygraph examination as part of that interview process, the magazine's editorial director said.
But she claimed Trump kissed her "very aggressively" and grabbed her breast, and became angry when she rebuffed him.
The statute of limitations on the misconduct charges has run out, but after Trump said Zervos' claims were "total fiction" and "all false stuff", the former contestant filed a defamation suit for being called a liar.
Summer Zervos with her lawyer Gloria Allred in 2016.
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