Trump’s lawyers are claiming he is immune from defamation claims brought by a former contestant on The Apprentice who accused him of sexual harassment.
Zervos, who filed her lawsuit in New York, said Trump aggressively kissed and groped her against her will in his Beverly Hills hotel room in 2007. Her attorney, Gloria Allred, said in a statement Tuesday that Trump was not immune from the defamation lawsuit.
Zervos who was one of more than a dozen women that came forward before the November election to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct following the release of a decade-old Access Hollywood recording in which Trump bragged about groping and kissing women without their consent.
“The United States supreme court addressed this legal immunity issue in Clinton v Jones and determined unanimously that no man is above the law and that includes the president of United States,” Allred said. “We look forward to arguing this issue in court.”
In the lawsuit, Zervos said Trump had defamed her, when denying the allegations during his campaign. Trump tweeted at the time that Zervos’ charges were “100% fabricated and made-up” and “nonsense”, and also dubbed her and other women who made similar claims “liars”.
Trump’s lawyers cited a 1997 Supreme court ruling to say the lawsuit should be barred as it held the potential to distract the president from performing his public duties. The ruling in question, Clinton v Jones, pertained to sexual harassment litigation against the then president, Bill Clinton, by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee.
Trump when he assumed the office of the presidency, had as many as 75 private lawsuits against him.