In a move that could have big implications for the much-investigaed ex-Celebrity Apprentice host, a New York state appeals court today shut down Trump’s ongoing desire to dodge Summer Zervos’ legal action in its affirmation of a lower court ruling that POTUS can’t get out of the case just because he is in the Oval Office. Even with more appeals possibly all the way to the Supreme Court, Trump now looks certain to have to sit for a grilling from Zervos’ attorney Mariann Wang by the end of June, I hear.
“The current sitting President attempts to shield himself from consequences for his alleged unofficial misconduct by relying upon the constitutional protection of the Presidency,” Justice Dianne Remwick wrote Thursday in decision to reject the motion to dismiss (read it here). “We reject defendant President Trump’s argument that the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution prevents a New York State court — and every other state court in the country — from exercising its authority under its state constitution. Instead, we find that the Supremacy Clause was never intended to deprive a state court of its authority to decide cases and controversies under the state’s constitution.”
In a statement to Deadline today, attorney Wang of Cuti Hecker Wang LLP said: “We are very pleased that the First Department has affirmed once again that Defendant ‘is not above the law. The case has proceeded in the trial court and discovery continues. We look forward to proving to a jury that Ms. Zervos told the truth about Defendant’s unwanted sexual groping and holding him accountable for his malicious lies.”
In statements to the media in 2016 and then in her January 2017-filed complaint, Zervos claimed Trump sexually assaulted her twice in 2007. She had been a contestant on The Apprentice the previous year.
Zervos, who once was repped by attorney Gloria Allred, alleges that Trump kissed her twice without consent during a lunch meeting at his NYC office. The same year, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Trump kissed her, grabbed her breasts and “thrust his genitals” at her, Zervos alleges.
While the statute of limitations on such misconduct charges has long expired, Trump’s caustic comments during the 2016 campaign that Zervos’ claims were “total fiction” and “all false stuff” basically reset the clock. In short, she was able to file a suit against Trump because he publicly called her a liar.
In subsequent media appearances, Zervos also has claimed Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood comments and his subsequent denial of claims from several women who claimed he assaulted them led her to speak out.
Trump is represented in the case by his longtime personal lawyers at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP.