Former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos is one step closer to compelling the president of the United States to answer her questions as truthfully as he can, after a New York judge ruled Tuesday that her lawyers can force Donald Trump to testify under oath in a deposition.
Zervos sued Trump for defamation in January 2017, after Trump said she’d made up claims that he had groped her and kissed her without consent at the Beverly Hills Hotel a decade ago. Trump and his team of attorneys have spent the months since trying to ground Zervos’ lawsuit to a halt, arguing that, as president, Trump is legally immune from legal challenges like hers.
Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz echoed that argument during a preliminary hearing for the case Tuesday, asking Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter to block Zervos’ lawsuit until higher courts can weigh in, Reuters reported. In March, Schecter ruled to let the case move forward, writing in her decision: “No one is above the law.”
Kasowitz and the rest of Trump’s team have appealed that decision to the New York Court of Appeals. Having New York’s highest court consider the case, Kasowitz argued Tuesday, is essential to “the resolution of this very important constitutional issue.”
That argument, however, appears to have left Judge Schechter unmoved, and she asked both sides to complete their depositions by Jan. 31, 2019.
Trump is also currently battling a lawsuit filed by porn star Stormy Daniels, who is arguing that a nondisclosure agreement she signed about an alleged 2006 affair with Trump is invalid. Another dozen-odd women have also accused Trump of sexual misconduct. Trump has denied all allegations, and on Tuesday, Kasowitz again called those women’s stories “irrelevant” to Zervos’ lawsuit.
Zervos’ attorney, Mariann Wong, disagreed.
“It's a defamation case,” she told ABC News, “so we are required to prove the falsity of the statements, and his statements include statements about other women.”
Cover image: Summer Zervos, a former contestant on "The Apprentice," sits in New York County Criminal Court on December 5, 2017, in New York, during a hearing on the defamation lawsuit against US President Donald Trump. Zervos is accusing Trump of sexually harassing her during her stint as a contestant on the show which Trump hosted in 2007. Barry Williams/AFP/Getty Images.