Donald Trump Certain To Face Grilling In Ex-‘Apprentice’ Contestant’s Lawsuit

Nellie Chapman
March 16, 2019

The decision regarded former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos' defamation case against President Donald Trump. On Thursday an appellate court in NY ruled that Trump was not immune from being sued in state court and that a defamation lawsuit against him could move forward.

Judge Renwick "wrote that the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution - which generally says that when state and federal law conflict, federal law prevails - did not override a state court's authority to decide cases under the state's own constitution", Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillman explains.

The president's attorneys have said that the case should not go forward while Trump is in office, arguing that the Constitution does not allow state courts to interfere with the operations of the federal government.

Both sides have continued gathering evidence while awaiting the appeals court's decision.

The ruling in Zervos' case also hurts Trump's cause in a separate NY lawsuit - this one involving his troubled charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

Zervos' lawyers say Trump's words were falsehoods that subjected her to threats.

"We are very pleased that the First Department has affirmed once again that (Trump) 'is not above the law, '" Wang said in a statement Thursday.

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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 legal team filed a motion to dismiss the case, but a trial court judge denied it.

That suit is also filed in NY state court, and Trump's attorneys had argued that his status as president should exempt him from state suits. In her lawsuit, she claims that she was defamed after Trump characterized her allegations as lies. Among them: James said that the foundation's board, which was legally required to oversee the charity's spending, had not met since 1999.

Zervos, who once was repped by attorney Gloria Allred, alleges that Trump kissed her twice without consent during a lunch meeting at his NYC office. It seeks shorter-term bans on charity service for Trump's children Eric, Ivanka and Donald Jr., who were all members of the foundation's board. "The result the Supreme Court reached in Jones. may well have been entirely correct".

Zervos filed her defamation lawsuit three days before Trump's inauguration.

But the Zervos case differs in several key aspects, legal experts have noted. Trump also republished on Twitter a post calling Zervos' accusations a "hoax".

While the statute of limitations on such misconduct charges has long expired, Trump's caustic comments during the 2016 campaign that Zervos' claims were "total fiction" and "all false stuff" basically reset the clock.

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