Daily Trends Now
Daily Trends Now


Judge rules 'Apprentice' contestant's lawsuit against Trump may proceed

Judge rules 'Apprentice' contestant's lawsuit against Trump may proceed

President Donald Trump is not immune from a defamation suit filed in state court in Manhattan by a former contestant on "The Apprentice" who says Trump groped her more than a decade ago, a New York Supreme Court justice has ruled.

Zervos said the first encounter, two unwanted kisses, occurred at Trump's NY office.

The decision by Justice Jennifer Schecter of the NY state court in Manhattan in favour of California restaurateur Summer Zervos, a former contestant on NBC's The Apprentice, raises the prospect that Trump might have to answer embarrassing questions in court about his behaviour towards women.

Now, Karen McDougal and Summer Zervos.

"No one is above the law", Justice Jennifer Schecter wrote in her 18-page ruling on Tuesday. "Nothing in the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution even suggests that the president can not be called to account before a state court for wrongful conduct that bears no relationship to any federal executive responsibility".

John Diamond, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, said Trump would have to testify under oath if he has to defend himself.

In January 2017, Zervos filed a defamation suit against Trump, after he made inflammatory comments on the campaign trail about Zervos and other women who accused him of misconduct. A much-anticipated interview with Daniels is scheduled to air Sunday (Monday NZT) on CBS's "60 Minutes".

Additionally, Schecter ruled that the lawsuit could proceed because Zervos has presented a defamation claim that could succeed if she is able to prove that Trump's statements about her are false.




Trump's attorney Marc Kasowitz meanwhile announced plans to immediately appeal and seek a stay of the ruling. "It is settled that the president of the United States has no immunity and is "subject to the laws" for purely private act".

"For the very same reasons articulated in Clinton v. Jones, a stay for the duration of the Trump presidency must be denied", the opinion states.

Zervos first made public her claims against Trump at an October 2016 news conference, as one of a parade of women who accused him of misconduct after the release of an "Access Hollywood" recording capturing the future president boasting in graphic language about groping women.

Schecter also dismissed Kasowitz's argument that Trump's denunciations of Zervos were protected speech because they were part of the presidential campaign.

Trump has repeatedly said that all of the women who accused him of touching them inappropriately were lying - a sentiment his White House reiterated as questions resurfaced about these allegations.

Schecter noted that the ruling "left open" whether presidents can be sued in state court over private actions, but concluded that concerns over "federalism and comity" should not block the case from proceeding. That paved the way for Clinton's impeachment the following year.

McDougal is asking the court to declare the agreement null and void. Trump's lawyers asked the court to dismiss Zervos' suit.

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