Trump must face a defamation lawsuit over Summer Zervos’ sexual-assault claims, court rules

Summer zervos donald trump
Summer Zervos and Donald Trump. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer; AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
  • A woman who says Donald Trump sexually assaulted her can advance a defamation suit, a court ruled.
  • The suit had been delayed after Trump filed an appeal saying a sitting president could not be sued.
  • The court found the issue was “moot” since Trump had left office.
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A New York court has ruled that a former contestant on “The Apprentice” can bring a defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump after he called her a liar for alleging that he had sexually assaulted her.

The New York Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that Summer Zervos could file a defamation suit she originally filed in 2017.

The case had been paused after Trump filed an appeal saying a sitting president could not be sued, but with Trump having left office, the court found that “the issues presented have become moot,” Reuters reported.

The case will now be heard in a Manhattan trial court where Zervos’ lawyers will be able to question Trump under oath, Reuters reported.

Zervos has said that Trump kissed her against her will in 2007 after she appeared on “The Apprentice” and that Trump later groped her in a California hotel. Trump was the host of the NBC show.

Zervos is one of more than two dozen women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, with allegations stretching back to the 1970s. Trump called his accusers liars, prompting Zervos’ lawsuit.

Trump in 2017 moved to have the case dismissed on the grounds that state courts couldn’t prosecute a sitting president.

While lower state courts rejected the argument, New York’s top state court paused the case in March 2020.

Attorneys for Zervos in February also noted in their application to the Court of Appeals that Trump had not opposed the motion from Zervos to move the trial forward.

Trump is facing numerous other civil and criminal investigations and lawsuits since he has left office.

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit their website to receive confidential support.