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Trump fails to end 'Apprentice' contestant's defamation lawsuit

16 March 2019

Summer Zervos has won the rights to take the President of the United States to court on Thursday after a NY appellate court ruled for the defamation case to go ahead.

In a 3-2 decision in favor of former contestant Summer Zervos, the Appellate Division in Manhattan said the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause did not deprive state courts of authority to decide cases arising under state constitutions, even if they involved sitting presidents.

Donald Trump's repeated attempts to outrun giving a deposition in a defamation lawsuit from a former The Apprentice contestant who alleges he sexually assaulted her looks to have run out of road. The candidate denied the claims, calling the women "liars".

The second allegedly occurred soon thereafter when Zervos went to meet Trump for dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where she said he kissed her "open-mouthed", "grabbed her shoulder, again kissing her very aggressively, and placed his hand on her breast".

The ruling by a NY state appeals court raises the prospect that a sitting president could now be called for sworn questioning.

Zervos was among over a dozen women who emerged during Trump's 2016 campaign with allegations of sexual misconduct years earlier.

Trump had appealed a lower court's ruling previous year that allowed the case to proceed, arguing that the Constitution's Supremacy Clause bars a lawsuit against a sitting president in state court because it would interfere with his duties.

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In the lawsuit, Zervos alleged that Trump "wrongly smeared her" and subjected her to threats by claiming that the accusations of sexual misconduct and harassment were lies.

The court also ruled that Zervos had made out a sufficient claim of defamation, and her suit was not barred by California's anti-SLAPP law. In a June 2018 lawsuit, the Attorney General claimed the foundation was operated as a "shell corporation that functioned as a checkbook" for Mr. Trump, his campaign and businesses.

"The case has proceeded in the trial court and discovery continues", Mariann Wang, Zervos's attorney, said in a statement.

In dismissing the Daniels case, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero wrote that Daniels had presented herself as Trump's "political adversary" and that Trump's "rhetorical hyperbole" was protected speech.

Defendant's reading of the Supremacy Clause - that it bars a state court from exercising jurisdiction over him because he is the "ultimate repository of the Executive Branch's powers and is required by the Constitution to be "always in function" -- finds no support in the constitutional text or case law.

Summer Zervos, left, leaves NY state appellate court with here attorney Mariann Wang, Thursday in October previous year.

Trump fails to end 'Apprentice' contestant's defamation lawsuit