Donald Trump To Provide Written Sworn Answers In Summer Zervos Defamation Lawsuit
Zervos, who accused the president of unwanted sexual contact, brought the defamation lawsuit shortly before his inauguration in 2016. Trump denied claims that he kissed and groped Zervos without consent back in 2007. The defamation suit alleges that the president falsely branded Zervos a liar after she made her accusations public, claiming that she fabricated her accusations against him and calling her story “totally made up nonsense.”
Trump’s “immediate response” to Zervos’ claims was, according to court documents, “To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago. That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I’ve conducted my life,” ABC News reported.
In court documents filed Tuesday, Zervos and her legal team requested pre-trial evidence from the dozen other women who’ve reported similar accounts of sexual misconduct by Trump as well as “any other women who have made such complaints to or about” Trump, either privately or publicly. The information is relevant to proving Trump “made his defamatory statements with common-law malice” and that he acted with “actual malice,” according to the lawsuit.
The agreement represents a step forward in the case. Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s personal lawyer, has repeatedly tried and failed to have the case dismissed, arguing that a sitting U.S. president is immune from being sued but Justice Jennifer Schecter of the New York state court rejected Trump’s bid. She found he had “absolutely no authority” to end litigation over purely unofficial conduct because he was a sitting president.
New York state rules require the president’s answers to be sworn or verified. That means that he could be open to perjury charges if the answers are false.
The case may also involve the just-filed New York attorney general’s lawsuit against Trump and his charity. University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck pointed out on Twitter, “it could also cement “the propriety of the major new suit by the New York state attorney general being brought in state — rather than federal — court.”
This decision is a very big deal not only because it allows the @SummerZervos defamation case to go forward (barring a @realDonaldTrump appeal to #SCOTUS), but it also cements the propriety of the major new suit by @NewYorkStateAG being brought in state—rather than federal—court. https://t.co/p1ACQuwAsc
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) 14. Juni 2018