21 March, 2018
The ruling could force Trump to submit to questioning by lawyers for Zervos and lead to further public scrutiny of other claims of sexual misconduct that have been made against the president.
A NY state judge on Tuesday denied a bid by Trump to toss a defamation lawsuit by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on NBC's "The Apprentice", raising the prospect that he might have to answer questions about his behaviour in court.
Adds the judge, "Nothing in the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution even suggests that the President can not be called to account for wrongful conduct that bears no relationship to any federal executive responsibility".
Though the president sought to have the defamation case either dismissed or put on hold until he leaves office, Judge Schechter found today that Trump's new title offers him no such privilege.
Zervos remained quiet about the attacks but made a decision to break her silence about the attacks in October 2016, in the weeks leading up to the presidential election, after the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump could be heard engaging in a lewd discussion about women, including forms of sexual assault.
McDougal filed her lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against American Media Inc, publisher of the National Enquirer, whose head, David Pecker, has described Trump as a "personal friend".
Trump's separate argument that his comments represented "pure political speech" and couldn't rise to defamatory statements is also rejected.
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A British policeman was also poisoned when he went to help them and remains in a serious but stable condition. Thursday saw an exchange of openly insulting language between British and Russian ministers.
Kasowitz cited Clinton v. Jones, a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court opinion, which determined that presidents aren't immune from civil actions in federal court but had a footnote where Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that it was "not necessary to consider or decide whether a comparable claim might succeed in a state tribunal".
"Nothing in the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution even suggests that the president can not be called to account before a state court for wrongful conduct that bears no relationship to any federal executive responsibility", Schecter found.
Zervos said that after appearing on Trump's show in 2006 she asked him for a job.
Marc Kasowitz of Kasowitz Benson Torres, who is representing Trump in the case, said in December at oral arguments for the motion to dismiss that Trump's statements on the issue amounted to overheated campaign rhetoric-and thus can not be construed as defamatory-and that none of the statements explicitly named Zervos. On Tuesday, Judge Jennifer Schecter sided with Zervos.
Maria Glover, a law professor at Georgetown University, said that the decision will nearly certainly go to appeal.
Although Trump now must respond in court to the complaint, an immediate appeal is highly likely. "His statements can be proven true or false, as they pertain to whether [Zervos] made up allegations to pursue her own agenda", Schecter also said.
Daniels shared her story with InTouch magazine in 2011, but the interview was not published until the Wall Street Journal reported on the affair and payout earlier this year.