Trump lawyers say judge lacks jurisdiction for defamation lawsuit

10:45am

10:45am

Zervos has accused Trump of kissing and groping her without her consent.

Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who's also representing Zervos, wouldn't say after the hearing whether she'd try to depose the president if the case went forward.

Kasowitz had to admit upon Schecter's questioning that there has never been a court case that truly has settled whether sitting US presidents must face claims in state courts, but added that the president "is a unique individual in the executive branch" and that the "mere assertion of jurisdiction amounts to control". In any event, he said, Schechter has no jurisdiction because "state court can't exercise any control over the president under any circumstances". She asked him if it mattered that she would not be directing the president in his official duties, only potentially ruling on whether his comments as a candidate defamed Zervos.

"Not with regard to the president, your honor", Kasowitz responded.

As a threshold matter, Kasowitz argued that a state court lacks jurisdiction over the case.

Trump thunderously denied her accusations, along with other women he called politically motivated liars.

Lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump, Marc Kasowitz, appears in court during a defamation hearing for Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 5, 2017.

Schecter reserved judgment on the motion and said she would rule at a later date.

Wang further argued that no court has ever held that the president is immune to state lawsuits, pointing to a federal law that provides for the possibility by detailing how the president could seek to move a state lawsuit to federal court. Allred, a Democratic activist, says she's had no contact with Hillary Clinton about the lawsuit.

Her lawsuit could also expose Trump, who faced roughly 75 lawsuits when he assumed the presidency, to a flood of litigation.

Summer Zervos, center, leaves state Supreme Court in New York City with attorneys Gloria Allred, left, and Mariann Meier Wang after a hearing Tuesday. In making that argument he pointed to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1997 ruling in Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, allowing Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee, to bring a sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton.

The decision led to Clinton's impeachment after he lied under oath about his sexual relationship with another woman, Monica Lewinsky. If that were true, she said during Wang's arguments, Congress would have changed the law after Jones sued Clinton.

Summer Zervos was a contestant on Trump's reality TV show in 2006. She said at a news conference previous year that he made unwanted sexual contact with her at a Beverly Hills, California, hotel in 2007.

She was one of several women who made accusations against Trump after the emergence a year ago of a conversation caught on an open microphone in 2005 in which he spoke in vulgar terms about trying to have sex with women.

The Statements - all of which were advanced during a heated political campaign to convince the public to vote for Mr. Trump, and many of which were published via Twitter -constitute non-actionable rhetoric and hyperbole that is protected by the First Amendment.

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