Noting that no one is above the law, a Manhattan judge has ruled that former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos may proceed with her defamation case against President Donald Trump.
Judge Jennifer Schecter today denied a motion made by Trump’s lawyers to either dismiss the case or issue a continuance until the president leaves office.
Zervos, a 2006 Apprentice contestant repped by attorney Gloria Allred, claims Trump sexually assaulted her twice in 2007. She says that at a lunch meeting at Trump’s New York office, Trump kissed her twice without consent. The same year, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Trump kissed her, grabbed her breasts and “thrust his genitals” at her, Zervos alleges.
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.
Trump’s lawyers responded that the suit has no standing in state courts while their client is in office, and that the matter should be dismissed or stayed until Trump is no longer president.
Schecter’s decision today rejects that claim, and gives Trump’s lawyers 10 days to respond.
Writes Schecter, the president “has no immunity” from laws involving “purely private acts.” The judge cites Paula Jones’ case against Bill Clinton as precedent.
“Nothing in the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution even suggests that the president cannot be called to account before a state court for wrongful conduct that bears no relationship to any federal executive responsibility,” writes Schecter.
If the case proceeds through the court, Trump could, theoretically at least, be required to sit for a deposition.
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