Trump setback in accuser's defamation case is first of its kind

Joseph diGenova.    
   Fox News

Joseph diGenova. Fox News

Trump argued he should be shielded by the U.S. Constitution because it's too much of a distraction for the nation's chief executive to face civil claims in state court.

Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice who had made public accusations against Trump during the campaign about "unwanted sexual misconduct", sued him after he said "these allegations are 100% false" and began calling her and others "phony people coming up with phony allegations", among other statements.

Though the president sought to have the defamation case either dismissed or put on hold until he leaves office, Judge Schechter found today that Trump's new title offers him no such privilege.

"A reader or listener, cognizant that (Trump) knows exactly what transpired, could reasonably believe what defendant's statements convey: that (Zervos) is contemptible because she "fabricated" events for personal gain", Schecter wrote.

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Now, Karen McDougal and Summer Zervos. The White House did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. "It is settled that the president of the United States has no immunity and is "subject to the laws" for purely private act".

Even as they considered an appeal, lawyers representing Trump also had to monitor another lawsuit - this one filed in early March in Los Angeles Superior Court by Daniels, who has said Trump sought to silence her shortly before the 2016 election. She said Trump kissed her against her will at a 2007 meeting in his NY office, and later groped her in a Beverly Hills hotel at a meeting about a possible job.

Zervos remained quiet about the attacks but made a decision to break her silence about the attacks in October 2016, in the weeks leading up to the presidential election, after the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump could be heard engaging in a lewd discussion about women, including forms of sexual assault.

Mariann Wang, one of Zervos' lawyers, said in a statement on Tuesday: "We are grateful for the opportunity to prove that that defendant falsely branded Ms. Zervos a phoney for telling the truth about his unwanted sexual groping". And in the case of Donald Trump, it turns out that a legal precedent set by a small, dedicated group of Republicans who had it out for President Bill Clinton now applies fully to him. She took a polygraph examination as part of that interview process, the magazine's editorial director said.

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Summer Zervos with her lawyer Gloria Allred in 2016.

Zervos has accused Trump of aggressively kissing her and groping her breasts while she was pursuing a job at his company, charges he said were untrue.

At least 19 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct.

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