After more than 10 women came forward last year to accuse President-elect Donald Trump of sexual assault, he responded by calling them liars and their allegations “fabrications” and “fiction.”
One of his accusers, Summer Zervos, is fighting back, saying in a Tuesday press conference that Trump “lied, debased, and denigrated her.” Zervos, who was a contestant on Season 5 of Trump’s NBC reality show “The Apprentice” in 2006, was announcing that she’s suing Trump for defamation in New York.
“On Nov. 11, 2016, I called on Mr. Trump to retract his statements calling me a liar,” Zervos said alongside her attorney, Gloria Allred. “I also called upon him to state that what I said about his behavior toward me was true.”
Because Trump never retracted his comments, Zervos said she was left with “no alternative but to sue him in order to vindicate my reputation.” She added that she would be willing to dismiss her case immediately, with no monetary compensation, if he publicly acknowledges that she told the truth about the alleged unwanted sexual advances in 2007.
Zervos, 41, came forward with her allegations last October, in the wake of the leak of the infamous 2006 “Access Hollywood” audio in which Trump bragged about how he could approach women and “grab them by the pussy” because he was famous. She said his comments in the tape “hit a nerve,” and prompted her to come forward about her own experiences with Trump.
According to the complaint, Zervos said she realized after the release of the tape that “she was just one of many women who had been victimized by Mr. Trump’s predatory conduct,” and that she could no longer “rationalize or excuse” his behavior by telling herself that it was perhaps a “mistake or an isolated incident.”
She described three separate incidents of alleged unwanted sexual contact with Trump. Zervos alleges that Trump “aggressively” groped her, kissed her, “thrust his genitals at her,” and tried to lead her into his bedroom when the two met at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007 to discuss career opportunities. She said she worried whether his advances had been “some kind of test” related to being given a job within the Trump Organization, and that she was ultimately offered a lower-paying position than what she had initially been told about.
Allred said Tuesday that Trump’s rejection of Zervos’s allegations, as well as those by the other women who came forward, had instigated “reputational damage” and “threats of violence.” She added that her client had taken and passed a polygraph test.
“More of the same from Gloria Allred,” Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement. “There is no truth to this absurd story.”