·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Lawsuits & Litigation

Judge Rules That Trump Can Be Deposed in Zervos Defamation Suit

— June 6, 2018

A judge ruled that President Donald Trump could potentially be deposed in a defamation lawsuit brought forward by former ‘Apprentice’ contestant Summer Zervos.

Zervos is among a dozen women to accuse the current commander-in-chief of unwanted sexual conduct. Denying each and every allegation, the president’s slammed Zervos’s claim as “100 percent fabricated.”

Calling the woman a liar and her a story a “hoax,” Trump’s line against his accuses has been vehement. Last January, Zervos filed a suit against the real estate mogul and recent politician, claiming his statements constitute slander.

POLITICO reports that, despite the judge’s order, President Trump could still avoid a deposition if his legal team can swing the argument that Zervos’s claims are politically motivated. But Judge Jennifer Schecter, who’s ordered both parties to submit depositions by January 31, 2019, has brushed aside the suggestion that Trump’s post excludes him from being sued in state court.

Donald Trump speaking, image by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons, no changes
Donald Trump speaking, image by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons, no changes

“No one is above the law,” wrote Schecter in a March decision.

Trying to delay the case further, Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz says the issue of whether a sitting U.S. president can be sued in state court isn’t one for Schecter to decide. He’s suggested the Supreme Court weigh in, saying it’s a “critical constitutional issue” in need of immediate resolution.

Zervos and attorney Mariann Meier Wang say Trump’s legal team is simply trying to stall. They say that, despite issuing subpoenas to Trump’s attorneys, they’ve yet to turn over any information on the other women who’ve accused Trump of sexual misconduct.

“It’s become clear that the campaign’s position is that any and all documents about other women who have alleged that the defendant subjected them to unwanted sexual touching or inappropriate conduct, that any discovery about them, they would draw a line there,” said Wang.

Considering Kasowitz’s contention that the allegations of other women are irrelevant to Zervos’s suit, Schecter’s asked both sides for a briefing.

Zervos, a California restauranteur who appeared in a 2006 season of ‘The Apprentice,’ says she was sexually harassed by then-host Donald Trump after seeking career advice a year later. The billionaire real estate mogul purportedly kissed and groped her on several occasions.

Shortly after Zervos came public, then-candidate Donald Trump issued a statement targeting the woman, in which he called her a ‘liar’ and her story a ‘hoax.’ He then retweeted an image of Zervos reiterating the same claims.

Zervos’s legal team, writes the New York Times, is trying to bolster its position by obtaining ‘Apprentice’ records which might show President Trump talking about female contestants inappropriately.


Judge rules Trump must sit for deposition in defamation lawsuit

Judge: Trump can be deposed in Summer Zervos lawsuit

Trump Could Face Questioning by Next Year in Defamation Suit

Join the conversation!