“It’s fake, it’s made-up stuff and it’s disgraceful what happens, but that happens in the world of politics,” the former Apprentice host added in typical form during a wide-ranging 45-minute news conference Monday in the White House Rose Garden. The question poised to President Trump was framed in the context of the flood of sexual harassment allegations against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.
While making no comment this time about Weinstein, the response from POTUS after a make-up lunch with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell follows the September-filed subpoena coming to light over the weekend. As a part of Summer Zervos’ defamation case, the filing asks the campaign to maintain “all documents concerning any woman who asserted that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately.”
The subpoena was part of the opposition Allred filed for her client September 19 rejecting Team Trump’s attempt to get the case dismissed. “Defendant’s attacks were defamatory because his statements were factual, provably false, and fundamentally debased Ms. Zervos’s Reputation,” the opposition stated. Zervos filed her suit in New York Supreme Court on January 17, three days before Trump became the 45th President of the United States.
“Our subpoena is obviously not ‘fake new,’ since it is filed with the Court in Summer Zervos’ lawsuit against him and the Trump Pence campaign has acknowledged receiving it,” Allred told Deadline Monday after the President’s press conference had concluded. “Assuming the Court denies President Trump’s motion to dismiss our lawsuit and allows us to proceed, his campaign will be required to respond to our subpoena,” the attorney added.
Trump’s lawyers have said that they believe this matter has no standing, at least while their client is in the Oval Office. “The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution prevents this State Court from hearing this action, whatever its merit or lack thereof, against a sitting President,” said lead Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz, who is also one of the lawyers for AMC in their long battle with ex-The Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont and CAA over profits from the blockbuster series. “The action therefore should be dismissed without prejudice to Ms. Zervos refiling after the President leaves office, or stayed until such time,” Kasowitz added in his July 7 filing.
A participant in the 2006 season of the now-canceled The Apprentice, Zervos initially claimed last October in the final stretch of the 2016 Trump campaign that the GOP candidate had attempted to kiss her during private meetings in both NY and LA back in 2007. Around the same time that the explosive Access Hollywood recordings from 2005 of Trump bragging about accosting women were going public, Zervos additionally claimed in a meeting with Trump at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007 that the author of The Art of the Deal grabbed her breasts and “thrust his genitals” at her.
Trump almost immediately reacted by going on the attack against Zervos, calling her a liar. Facing accusations of inappropriate behavior from a number of women, Trump also sought to downgrade Zervos’ claims by detailing how she continued to pursue a job with him long after the alleged incidents of sexual harassment. Among other things, Trump said that Zervos contacted him on April 14, 2016 “asking that I visit her restaurant in California.”
Trump’s lawyers have until Halloween to reply to Zervos’ opposition, at which time a hearing on the matter will be set.