'Apprentice' contestant's defamation suit against Trump cleared to proceed

Elias Hubbard
March 15, 2019

Former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos' defamation suit against Donald Trump can move forward, an appellate court has ruled.

Despite this, Judge Renwick said that the Supremacy Clause is only meant to settle conflicts between state and federal laws, and there's no reason to believe that it says anything about a state court's ability to hear cases involving the president. She alleges that Trump "ambushed" her on multiple occasions, starting in 2007, and kissed her on the mouth, touched her breast and rubbed his genitals against her.

The judge in that case indicated in October she was waiting to rule on a motion to dismiss until after a decision in the Zervos case.

Mr. Trump's legal team had argued that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution prevents a sitting president of the United States from being sued in state court. Despite the suggestion in his brief that he is the "embodi [ment of] the Executive Branch", and though he is tasked with significant responsibilities, the President is still a person, 16 and he is not above the law.

Trump's lawyers have said the case shouldn't go forward while he is in office.

One of them, Justice Angela Mazzarelli, said the "all-consuming nature of the presidency creates a constitutional barrier" against Ms Zervos's lawsuit.

But the NY appeals court said the clause in no way grants Trump such immunity.

Mr Trump also republished on Twitter a post calling Zervos' accusations a "hoax".

Several other women have accused Mr Trump of improper sexual conduct.

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

Zervos' lawyers are hoping to question Trump under oath about whether he defamed her by calling her a liar after she accused him of sexual misconduct.

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".

Mariann Wang, the lawyer for the plaintiff, Summer Zervos, argued that a president is not above the law and said the US Supreme Court's ruling in Clinton v. Jones backs up her argument that Trump can be sued in state court. "The result the Supreme Court reached in Jones. may well have been entirely correct". That paved the way for Clinton's impeachment the following year.

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. That lawsuit was dismissed on March 7.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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