The case of Summer Zervos, who accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment and is now suing him for defamation, is under negotiation – with grave consequences for Trump.
New York – The legal problems faced by former President Donald Trump are worsening. Summer Zervos, a former candidate for Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice,” who is suing Trump for defamation, can continue her lawsuit after Trump is no longer President of the United States, a New York appeals court ruled on Tuesday, according to the New York Times .
The lawsuit was filed by Zervos in 2017 after Trump alleged she lied when she accused him of sexually molesting her years earlier. Zervos had publicly stated during the 2016 election campaign that Trump kissed her without her consent during lunch in his New York office and held her chest during an interview at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007.
Donald Trump’s appeal rejected
Trump had tried to prevent the lawsuit, arguing that as president he was protected from legal action. Two courts had ruled against him before his attorneys appealed to the State Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York. But before the court could hear the case, Trump was no longer president. Zervos’ attorney therefore argued to dismiss Trump’s appeal. The court granted this request on Tuesday.
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“The court ruled against him, the appeals division ruled against him and while the decision was pending, he left office,” said Gary Spencer, a spokesman for the court, according to the New York Times. Zervos’ defamation lawsuit can now be heard in court.
Donald Trump: First statement since taking office in 2017
The case could lead to Trump’s first testimony since taking office in January 2017, forcing him to testify about his behavior in 2007 and 2008 when he was in contact with Zervos – as well as his behavior during his first Presidential campaign.
“Now as a private person, the defendant has no further excuse to delay justice and we are keen to open the trial and prove Summer Zervo’s claims,” said Zervo’s attorney Beth Wilkinson.
More than 10 women had accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment
Trump could also be forced to testify under oath about his responses to other sexual harassment allegations. “There are many other similar allegations against former President Trump, and his answers are the subject of many questions,” said Kevin Mintzer, an attorney who has represented several women on sexual harassment cases, the New York Times. “I would expect him to have to answer these questions.” Zervos was one of more than 10 women accused of sexual harassment during the 2016 presidential campaign.
In response to Zervos’ allegations, Trump had alleged that he never met her in a hotel or touched her inappropriately. He later referred to her story and others on Twitter as “fictional events that never happened”. These and similar comments led to Zervos’ lawsuit.
Libel suit against Donald Trump: Another case is pending
Trump also faces a defamation lawsuit from E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of raping her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s. Carroll sued Trump for defamation in 2019 after denying the allegations. The case is currently in the court of appeal in the second instance.
Carroll’s attorney, Roberta A. Kaplan, told the New York Times that the only surprising thing about Tuesday’s decision on Zervos’ case was that it had taken so long. “I suppose Summer Zervos looks forward to moving her case forward. I know our client E. Jean Carroll thinks that way. “
Trump is currently facing two other criminal investigations. One of these is in Manhattan, where prosecutors are investigating whether Trump and his company have tampered with the value of his real estate in order to obtain credit and tax breaks. The other is in Georgia, where an investigation is underway into the former president’s attempt to convince local officials to change election results in the state in the 2020 US election. (Sonja Thomaser)