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

21 March, 2018, 08:21 | Author: Jason Torres
  • President Trump is reportedly set to hire Joseph diGenova

Summer Zervos filed the suit past year after Trump said publicly during the 2016 presidential campaign that she and other women accusing him of unwanted sexual contact were making up their claims.

The suit was filed in January 2017 in state court in Manhattan by Summer Zervos, a contender on The Apprentice in 2005 who alleges Trump "ambushed" her on more than one occasion starting in 2007, kissing her on the mouth, touching her breast and pressing his genitals against her.

Justice Jennifer Schecter in Manhattan rejected Trump's claim that he was immune from being sued, finding "absolutely no authority" to dismiss litigation related "purely to unofficial conduct" exclusively because he occupied the White House. In her decision, Judge Jennifer Schecter wrote that "no one is above the law".

A former Playboy model who says she was paid $150,000 to keep quiet about her affair with Trump also filed a lawsuit Tuesday to invalidate the deal so she can speak freely. "Total fabrication", Trump said during a campaign rally in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The statute of limitations for the alleged misconduct has long passed.

Zervos, a restaurant owner in California, argues that Trump's denials have hurt her credibility and affected her ability to earn a living.

Maria Glover, a law professor at Georgetown University, said that the decision will nearly certainly go to appeal.

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Trump took to Twitter after the October 2016 press conference to deny the allegations, calling them "made up events THAT NEVER HAPPENED", "100% fabricated and made-up charges", and "made up stories and lies". Cohen has acknowledged arranging to pay to silence another woman, porn star Stormy Daniels.

"False allegations have been levied against me and I look forward to responding to them in an appropriate forum", he told Reuters.

But Schecter said there's "absolutely no authority for dismissing or staying the case".

Zervos then sued Trump, arguing that Trump painting her as a liar harmed her business and her personal reputation.

American Media said in a statement the company has a valid contract with McDougal and looks forward to reaching an amicable resolution.

Zervos said she wanted to seek Trump's career advice after her appearance on The Apprentice.

Davidson declined to comment, citing attorney-client privilege.

The decision may also complicate Trump's effort to dismiss allegations from various women about his behavior. At a presidential debate, Trump denied ever doing the things he described in the recording, which some of his accusers said prompted them to come forward.

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