UPDATE, 3:09 PM: Donald Trump’s transition team has struck back at Gloria Allred and her client Summer Zervos, who sued the President-elect in New York court today. “More of the same from Gloria Allred,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks said. “There is no truth to this absurd story.”
PREVIOUS, 1:25 PM: Three days before his inauguration, President-elect Donald Trump has been sued by a former contestant on The Apprentice, who in October accused him of sexually assaulting her in a New York hotel room during the NBC show’s fifth season 10 years ago. Trump subsequently called her a liar, and today she sued him for defamation.
In the lawsuit filed in New York (read it here), Summer Zervos called Trump a “liar and misogynist.” Her suit says she came forward after videotape footage emerged in October in which Trump admitted that he liked to grab women “by the pussy.”
During a news conference today, she said that she would drop the suit if Trump would “retract his statements about me, saying that I was a liar.” (Read her full statement here.) Her attorney, Gloria Allred, told reporters she intends to subpoena outtakes of The Apprentice to help prove that Zervos’ claims are true.
In November, Zervos held a press conference in which she said that after competing on the show, she approached Trump for a job. She said that during a meeting in New York, he kissed her on the lips, and though “nervous and embarrassed,” subsequently agreed to have dinner with him at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It was there, in his room, she said, that “He grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast. I pulled back and walked to another part of the room. He then walked up, he grabbed my hand and walked me into the bedroom.” She said she tried to pull away. “He put me in an embrace, and I tried to push him away. I pushed his chest to put space between us and I said, ‘Come on, man, get real.’ He repeated my words back to me — ‘Get real’ — as he began thrusting his genitals. He tried to kiss me again and with my hand still on his chest I said, ‘Dude, you’re trippin’ right now,’ attempting to make it clear that I was not interested.”
Trump later told People magazine that he “vaguely” remembered Zervos but insisted that he “never met her in a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago. That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I’ve conducted my life. In fact, Ms. Zervos continued to contact me for help, emailing my office on April 14th of this year asking that I visit her restaurant in California.”
At today’s press conference, Zervos said she is suing him “to vindicate my reputation.” Allred, describing the suit as “David versus Goliath,” said that Zervos is one of numerous women who have come forward – many of whom she represents – who have made similar claims about Trump’s “pattern of misconduct towards women.”
“We’re going to fight this fight,” Allred said, “because it’s the right fight, and Ms. Zervos is the right person to fight it.” (Read Allred’s full statement here.)
She also said that she and Zervos will take part in the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, the day after Trump is inaugurated.