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

Summer Zervos' lawsuit against President Donald Trump can proceed, court rules

New York appellate court allows Summer Zervos defamation suit against Trump to proceed

A NY appeals court has refused to delay a defamation suit filed against President Donald Trump by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice.

A NY appeals court on Thursday rejected President Trump's attempt to block the defamation suit of an Orange County woman who says he lied during the 2016 campaign about sexually assaulting her at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Zervos was among more than a dozen women who came forward late in the 2016 presidential campaign to say that Mr. Trump had sexually harassed or assaulted them. He called the women liars.

Ms Zervos has repeatedly accused Mr Trump of kissing her against her will at a 2007 meeting in NY, and later groping her at a Beverly Hills hotel.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision in the similar federal case Clinton v. Jones acknowledged that a hypothetical state court case would involve separate issues, and thus the Jones case didn't control such a situation.

The decision means the president may have to sit for a sworn deposition, which is now scheduled for June.

The Zervos case has already brought forth dozens of recorded depositions with Trump Organization figures as senior as Allen Weisselberg, the company's CFO, who had been at Mr. Trump's side for decades.

Trump's attorneys had argued that the suit could not move forward because it would violate the Supremacy Clause-which elevates the Constitution and federal laws over state laws-by interfering with Trump's ability to do his job.

Zervos has said Trump made unwanted sexual advances towards her, which he has denied.

Mr Trump has also faced a defamation claim by adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit over a hush money agreement.

Despite suggesting that he embodies the executive branch and has significant responsibilities, "the President is still a person, and he is not above the law", the court said.

That paved the way for Mr Clinton's impeachment the following year.

All five justices found Ms Zervos's defamation claim legally sufficient, without ruling on its merits.

That lawsuit was dismissed on March 7.

The Washington Post reported the decision Thursday, which will allow discovery to continue in the suit against the president.

Zervos appeared on "The Apprentice" in 2006, when Trump was the reality show's host.

"We are very pleased that the First Department has affirmed once again that Defendant is not above the law", Zervos' attorney Mariann Wang said in a statement.

"The current sitting President attempts to shield himself from consequences for his alleged unofficial misconduct by relying upon the constitutional protection of the Presidency", Justice Dianne Remwick wrote Thursday in decision to reject the motion to dismiss (read it here).

Zervos is seeking a retraction, an apology, and compensatory and punitive damages.

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