A defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump filed by Summer Zervos, a former Apprentice contestant who had accused the former reality tv host of sexual assaulting her at a hotel, could finally give Trump’s accusers a chance to legally confront the president for his alleged crimes.
During the campaign, Trump had called Zervos and his other accusers attention-seekers, claiming that they were telling “lies” and “nonsense” to get “10 minutes of fame” — claims that Zervos says amounted to defamation, and that some might say more accurately describe the sitting president’s behavior than that of his accusers. Trump’s lawyers have been working frantically to dismiss the suit, arguing that a sitting president can’t be sued in state court and that his allegedly defamatory comments were “political,” not personal, speech. Should the case be allowed to proceed in the New York State Supreme Court, a legal ruling on Zervos’ defamation suit could come before the end of the year — meaning that Trump’s accusers, and the president himself, may be asked to testify.
“Mr. Trump knowingly, intentionally and maliciously threw each and every one of these women under the bus, with conscious disregard of the impact that repeatedly calling them liars would have upon their lives and reputations,” the lawsuit claims.
In the wake of the #MeToo campaign, which has led to Warner Bros. cutting ties with Brett Ratner, the lifetime ban of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein from the Producer’s Guild of America, and the exit of chef John Besh from the company he founded and co-owns, many have been left wondering how Trump, who was reportedly accused by at least 16 women of sexual assault during his presidential campaign, had so brazenly managed to escape consequences for his actions.
“You do wonder, how can the country forget about us?” said Rachel Crooks, who accused Trump of forcibly kissing her in 2005 when she worked as a receptionist at Trump Tower in Manhattan. And Jessica Leeds, who accused Trump of sexually assaulting her on a plane only for Trump to claim that he wouldn’t have assaulted her because she wasn’t attractive enough, has said that she for one would welcome the chance to testify against him.
“I would do it,” she said. “I’m not afraid.”
And if Trump were to be caught lying under oath during a deposition for the lawsuit, noted Megan Twohey in an article for The New York Times, it might even lead to his impeachment.
Read the full story at The New York Times.