Summer Zervos’ defamation suit against Trump can go forward: appeals court
Former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos’ defamation suit against Donald Trump can move forward, an appellate court has ruled.
A state court judge last summer denied a motion by Trump’s attorney to dismiss the suit, which accuses Trump of lying in response to Zervos’ claims that he groped her in a Beverly Hills hotel and kissed her on the lips while she was on the show in 2007.
The Appellate Division, First Department concurred in their Friday decision, saying “the President is still a person, and he is not above the law.”
Lawyers for Trump had argued that the “Supremacy Clause” of the US Constitution “immunized the President from being sued in state court while in office.”
The panel’s decision cites the decades-old Paula Jones suit against Bill Clinton, noting that the US Supreme Court failed to conclude then that simply being president shielded Clinton from civil litigation.
“More than 20 years later, the current sitting President attempts to shield himself from consequences for his alleged unofficial misconduct by relying upon the constitutional protection of the Presidency,” the decision reads. “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.”
“Instead, we find that the supremacy clause was never intended to deprive a state court of its authority,” says the ruling.
Zervos sued for libel in 2016, claiming Trump “immediately lied” after her accusations went public, saying he’d never met her at a hotel or “greeted her inappropriately,” her lawsuit reads.
“We are very pleased that the First Department has affirmed once again that Defendant ‘is not above the law,’” Zervos’ lawyer, Mariann Wang, said in a statement. “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.”
Lawyers for Trump did not immediately return messages.
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