Summer Zervos' defamation suit against Trump can go forward: appeals court

Summer Zervos listens as her attorney Gloria Allred speaks during a news conference announcing the filing of a lawsuit against President-elect Donald Trump in Los Angeles

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

A NY appellate court ruled Thursday that President Trump must face a defamation lawsuit filed by former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos, one of about a dozen women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct shortly before the 2016 election. "We reject defendant President Trump's argument that the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution prevents a New York State court - and every other state court in the country - from exercising its authority under its state constitution".

A panel of NY appellate judges issued its ruling Thursday in a case brought by Summer Zervos in which Trump accused her - and numerous other women - of being liars for alleging that he sexually harassed them.

In contrast to Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, Zervos and her lawyers have taken a low-key approach, a step that may help them negate claims that the suit is politically motivated.

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.

The reality TV contestant's lawsuit claims that the President's repeated denials of her sexual misconduct allegations are factual falsehoods that have subjected her to threats and cost her business at her Southern California restaurant.

The case is Zervos v Trump, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, No. 7610.

But the NY appeals court said the clause in no way grants Trump such immunity. He called the women liars. She had been a contestant on The Apprentice the previous year. Trump also republished on Twitter a post calling Zervos' accusations a "hoax".

She came forward in October 2016, the month before Trump was elected, after an "Access Hollywood" recording showed Trump speaking in vulgar terms about women.

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

"We look forward to proving to a jury that Ms. Zervos told the truth about Defendant's unwanted sexual groping and holding him accountable for his malicious lies", she said.

Despite his suggestion he embodied the executive branch and had significant responsibilities, "the President is still a person, and he is not above the law", Justice Dianne Renwick wrote.

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". A deposition has been scheduled for some time before the end of June.

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