President Donald Trump again dismissed former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos’s allegations that he kissed and groped her during a 2007 meeting, calling her claims “fake news.”
BuzzFeed reported on Sunday that Zervos, who is being representing by well-known women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, subpoenaed the Trump campaign for all documents pertaining to “any woman alleging that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately.”
Trump has previously denied Zervos’s allegations, which she made public in October 2016 following the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, and claimed they were part of a vast media conspiracy to undermine his presidential candidacy.
Trump responded to the allegations again during a 40-minute press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday afternoon, calling Zervos’s claims “disgraceful.”
“All I can say is it’s totally fake news, just fake, it’s fake, it’s made up stuff,” Trump said. “It’s disgraceful what happens, but that happens in the world of politics.”
Trump’s attorneys are attempting to have the case dismissed or postponed until he is out of office, arguing that the president is immune to civil suits in state court as long as he occupies the White House.
The subpoena was served last March, but it only became part of the court file in September when Allred responded to a claim by Trump’s attorneys that the subpoena was too broad.
Zervos filed a defamation suit against Trump in January, claiming he has harmed her reputation by insisting that she fabricated her allegations that he kissed and grabbed her during a business meeting in his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
During her October 2016 press conference, Zervos said Trump treated her like “an object,” and that after hearing leaked audio of him boasting about groping and kissing women without their consent and his denials of inappropriate sexual conduct, she felt she had to speak out. She also told reporters that she felt she had been “penalised for not sleeping with him” when she was looking for job opportunities with his company in 2007.
“You do not have the right to treat women as sexual objects just because you are a star,” Zervos said in October, addressing Trump directly.
Trump released a statement categorically denied Zervos’s accusations.
“I vaguely remember Ms. Zervos as one of the many contestants on ‘The Apprentice’ over the years,” he said. “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. In fact, Ms. Zervos continued to contact me for help, emailing my office on April 14th of this year asking that I visit her restaurant in California.”
Twelve women have accused Trump of sexual assault, harassment, or misconduct.
Natasha Bertrand contributed to this report.
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