Summer Zervos' defamation suit against Trump can go forward: appeals court

Summer Zervos who appeared on the NBC reality show in 2006 filed a lawsuit against Trump alleging that he defamed her during the presidential campaign after slamming her sexual harassment complaints as

A NY appellate court ruled Thursday that President Trump must face a defamation lawsuit filed by former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos, one of about a dozen women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct shortly before the 2016 election.

President Donald Trump listens during a briefing on drug trafficking at the southern border in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, on March 13. Add Donald Trump as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Donald Trump news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

Lawyers for Trump had argued that the decision in Clinton v. Jones didn't settle the question of immunity from suit in state court.

The Appellate Division's First Judicial Department of the New York Supreme Court ruled against Trump in a 3-2 decision Thursday.

From left to right: Summer Zervos, Orange County woman and former "Apprentice" contestant, arrives to New York County Criminal Court on December 5, 2017, in New York.

Trump's attorneys had argued that the suit could not move forward because it would violate the Supremacy Clause-which elevates the Constitution and federal laws over state laws-by interfering with Trump's ability to do his job.

Summer Zervos is pictured at a press conference in Los Angeles on January 17, 2017, and President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Oct. 31, 2018.

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Zervos is suing Trump for defamation after he publicly called her a liar following her claims in October 2016 that Trump sexually assaulted her a decade earlier. On one occasion, she claimed that Trump groped her in a hotel, even after she tried to push him away.

Zervos's attorney Marianne Wang eagerly awaits the opportunity to prove her client's claims correct in a court of law where, as U.S. Judge Amy Berman Jackson noted Wednesday, "facts still matter". "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".

They also say his remarks were opinions that he had a free-speech right to express in the course of a heated campaign.

The president's defense team was expecting to issue a response shortly. The first allegedly occurred in Trump's office in 2007 when he kissed her.

Zervos, an "Apprentice" contestant in 2005, accused Trump of kissing her against her will at a 2007 meeting in NY, and later groping her at a Beverly Hills hotel.

Trump also faced a defamation claim by adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit over a hush money agreement. "Since there is no federal law conflicting with or displacing this defamation action, the Supremacy Clause does not provide a basis for immunizing the President from state court civil damages actions".

The current schedule sets a deadline of June 28 for depositions, with document and electronic discovery expected to be concluded by the end of July.

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