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Court denies Trump's request to delay defamation lawsuit by former 'The Apprentice' contestant Summer Zervos

Zervos, a California restaurateur, appeared on "The Apprentice" in 2006, when Trump was the reality show's host

March 14, 2019 - 11:05 am
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NEW YORK (KMOX/AP) - President Donald Trump has not escaped the defamation lawsuit filed by former "The Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos. 

Zervos sued Trump for calling her a liar after she accused him of unwanted kissing and groping from a 2007 incident. Trump's lawyers have been trying to get the case dismissed or delayed until after his presidency.

Thursday, a New York state appeals court denied the request to dismiss or delay the lawsuit, allowing the case to proceed. This is the fourth time he's failed in New York courts to have the suit put on hold.

"No one is above the law," the appeals court panel stated. "It is settled that the president of the United States has no immunity and is ’subject to the laws’ for purely private acts."

You can read the full court document, here.

Zervos, a California restaurateur, appeared on "The Apprentice" in 2006, when Trump was the reality show's host. She says she met with him twice the next year, seeking career advice but getting unwelcomed kisses and groping.

According to her lawsuit, she didn't broach the encounters publicly for years because she thought they were isolated episodes of bad behavior by a businessman she admired. She went public with her allegation after an "Access Hollywood" recording emerged in October 2016 of Trump boasting about groping women.

Trump — by then the Republican presidential nominee — denied Zervos' claims and retweeted a message calling them "a hoax."

He also launched broadsides on Twitter and on rally stages against all the dozen-plus women who broached sexual misconduct claims against him around that same time, calling them "liars" peddling "totally made-up nonsense to steal the election," among other comments.

Zervos' lawyers say his comments were factual falsehoods that subjected her to threats and made her restaurant lose business. Trump's lawyers say his remarks were opinions that he had a free-speech right to express in the course of politics.

Zervos is seeking a retraction, an apology and compensatory and punitive damages. Like Trump, she is a Republican.

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