A New York state appeals court on Thursday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to dismiss a defamation lawsuit by a former contestant on his television show “The Apprentice” or delay it until after he leaves the White House.
In a 3-2 decision in favor of former contestant Summer Zervos, the Appellate Division in Manhattan said the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause did not deprive state courts of authority to decide cases arising under state constitutions, even if they involved sitting presidents.
There’s just no winning for Donald Trump in his attempt to avoid a defamation lawsuit filed by former “The Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos https://t.co/dtexyHXLKG
— Bloomberg (@business) March 14, 2019
Despite suggesting that he embodies the executive branch and has significant responsibilities, “the President is still a person, and he is not above the law,” the court said.
The decision may allow Zervos’ lawyers to question Trump under oath about whether he defamed her by calling her a liar after she accused him of sexual misconduct.
Summer Zervos’ deformation case against Trump can move forward.
This means, dare I say speak it, that perhaps someone might possibly maybe subpoena tapes from, say, The Apprentice… https://t.co/ceGp7VwkRK
— O General My General (@rideatdawn) March 14, 2019
But the split decision likely foreshadows an appeal, perhaps to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.
A lawyer for Trump was not immediately available for comment.
Zervos’ lawyer Mariann Wang said in a statement: “We look forward to proving to a jury that Ms. Zervos told the truth about defendant’s unwanted sexual groping and holding him accountable for his malicious lies.” (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
Reuters contributed to this report.
Facebook has greatly reduced the distribution of our stories in our readers’ newsfeeds and is instead promoting mainstream media sources. When you share to your friends, however, you greatly help distribute our content. Please take a moment and consider sharing this article with your friends and family. Thank you.