Ex-Apprentice contestant CAN proceed with her defamation lawsuit against President Trump


A NY state appeals court on Thursday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's effort to dismiss a defamation lawsuit by a former contestant on his television show "The Apprentice" or delay it until after he leaves the White House. The appellate court rejected this argument, and judges wrote: "We reject defendant President Trump's argument that the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution prevents a New York State court - and every other state court in the country - from exercising its authority under its state constitution".

A panel of judges on the Supreme Court Appellate Division said in their ruling, in a case brought by Summer Zervos, that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution doesn't require trials in state court to be delayed until the president is out of office. She was among over a dozen women who emerged during the Republican's 2016 campaign with allegations of sexual misconduct years earlier.

A panel of NY appellate judges issued its ruling Thursday in a case brought by Summer Zervos in which Trump accused her - and numerous other women - of being liars for alleging that he sexually harassed them.

Zervos, a Republican who appeared on The Apprentice in 2006, accused Trump of kissing her against her will at a 2007 meeting in NY, and later groping her at a Beverly Hills hotel.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision in the similar federal case Clinton v. Jones acknowledged that a hypothetical state court case would involve separate issues, and thus the Jones case didn't control such a situation.

She came forward after the "Access Hollywood" recording which showed Trump boasting about groping women.

In 1997, the US Supreme Court let Ms Jones's case go forward. They also say his comments were opinions and protected free speech.

The reality TV contestant's lawsuit claims that the President's repeated denials of her sexual misconduct allegations are factual falsehoods that have subjected her to threats and cost her business at her Southern California restaurant. In the suit, she demands that Mr. Trump apologize and retract his statements, and asks for unspecified damages.

All five justices found Zervos' defamation claim legally sufficient, without ruling on its merits. Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, had argued that Trump defamed her when he suggested that she had lied about being threatened to keep quiet about their alleged past relationship. A finding in Mr. Trump's favor could have derailed at least two other cases in NY courts, including a wide-ranging probe into the Trump Organization by the state's attorney general.

That lawsuit was dismissed on March 7.

In a statement to Deadline today, attorney Wang of Cuti Hecker Wang LLP said: "We are very pleased that the First Department has affirmed once again that Defendant 'is not above the law".