NY court says defamation suit against Trump can move forward

Lamar Ellis
March 16, 2019

Donald Trump's legal team suffered a blow Thursday when a NY appellate court rejected its effortsto get a defamation lawsuit against Trump dismissed.

Trump's lawyer Marc Kasowitz said Trump will appeal to the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, "which we expect will agree with the dissent".

Trump's attorneys had argued that the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution shielded Trump from the claim, but Justice Dianne Renwick wrote that the clause was "never meant to deprive a state court of its authority to decide cases and controversies under the state's constitution". She was among over a dozen women who came forward during Trump's 2016 campaign with allegations of sexual misconduct years earlier.

He called the women "liars" trying to harm his campaign with "100 percent fabricated" stories, and he retweeted a message specifically calling Zervos' claim "a hoax".

A NY appeals court has ruled that President Donald Trump isn't immune from a defamation lawsuit filed by a former "Apprentice" contestant who accused him of unwanted kissing and groping.

The decision means the president may have to sit for a sworn deposition, which is now scheduled for June.

Despite this, Judge Renwick said that the Supremacy Clause is only meant to settle conflicts between state and federal laws, and there's no reason to believe that it says anything about a state court's ability to hear cases involving the president.

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Zervos has said Trump forcibly kissed and groped her during a December 2007 encounter at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

The trial judge has allowed discovery to move forward while the president's appeal was pending.

She says she didn't go public with her allegations for nearly a decade because she admired Trump as a businessman and thought he had had just a couple of episodes of bad behavior with her. But in their ruling on Thursday, the court said that finding the president in contempt would be a "hypothetical scenario that is highly unlikely to occur in the context of this lawsuit".

"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", she said.

Lawyers in another case against Mr. Trump may also received a boost.

Zervos, who once was repped by attorney Gloria Allred, alleges that Trump kissed her twice without consent during a lunch meeting at his NYC office. In the suit, she demands that Mr. Trump apologize and retract his statements, and asks for unspecified damages.

In dismissing the Daniels case, U.S. District Judge James Otero wrote that Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, had presented herself as Trump's "political adversary" and that Trump's "rhetorical hyperbole" was protected speech.

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