A defamation lawsuit involving President Donald Trump’s alleged sexual harassment of a former contestant on “The Apprentice” is scheduled to be heard in court next Tuesday.
Summer Zervos, who accused Trump of sexually harassing her, is suing the president for defamation after he repeatedly called her allegations a “hoax” and claimed his presidential opponent Hillary Clinton’s campaign hired her to slander him.
Gloria Allred, Zervos’ attorney, confirmed the appearance to HuffPost, saying that a New York Supreme Court judge will hear oral arguments next week regarding the Trump legal team’s motion to dismiss the case.
Zervos was one of 16 women who came forward during the 2016 presidential campaign to accuse Trump of harassment or assault. She accused Trump of groping and forcibly kissing her on several occasions in 2007.
Many of the women, including Zervos, decided to come forward in October 2016 after a 2005 video surfaced showing Trump bragging to “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush about touching women without their consent and boasting that he can “grab them by the pussy.”
The president’s accusers largely feel that their stories have been forgotten amid outrage over recent sexual harassment and assault allegations against powerful men in multiple industries.
“With Trump, it was all brushed under the rug,” Temple Taggart, one of the women accusing the president, told The New York Times.
Zervos’s lawsuit could change that. The former “Apprentice” contestant initiated a lawsuit against Trump in January, saying she suffered “both emotionally and financially” from “being branded a liar.” She is asking for just $3,000 in damages.
The suit, which has been assigned to Judge Jennifer Schecter in the New York Supreme Court, accused Trump of using “his national and international bully pulpit to make false factual statements to denigrate and verbally attack Ms. Zervos and the other women who publicly reported his sexual assaults in October 2016.”
“Mr. Trump knew that his false, disparaging statements would be heard and read by people around the world, and that these women, including Summer Zervos, would be subjected to threats of violence, economic harm, and reputational damage,” the suit states.
Zervos’ attorneys issued a subpoena requiring the president to turn over all documents “concerning any accusations that were made during Donald J. Trump’s election campaign for president, that he subjected any woman to unwanted sexual touching and/or sexually inappropriate behavior.”
Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s attorney, has tried to get the suit dismissed on the grounds that the president can’t be sued while in office. He also attempted to dismiss the subpoena in July, arguing that it “seeks wholly irrelevant information intended solely to harass the president.”
But Allred and the rest of Zervos’s legal team have noted that in a 1997 unanimous decision regarding Paula Jones’s sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution doesn’t guarantee a the president immunity from civil litigation.