President Donald Trump is not immune from a defamation lawsuit brought by former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos, even as his lawyers argued that the case should at least be deferred until the end of his term, a NY appeals court ruled on Thursday. Add Donald Trump as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Donald Trump news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
The decision, which increases the prospect that Trump could have to sit for sworn questioning in the lawsuit, was not unanimous.
Trump's attorney, Marc E. Kasowitz, voiced disagreement with the ruling and said the president plans to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals, "which we expect will agree with the dissent".
Justice Jennifer Schecter originally allowed the case to proceed in March of a year ago, arguing that nothing in the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause suggests the president is immune from civil lawsuits.
The case is Zervos v Trump, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, No. 7610.
Attorneys for President Trump argued that as President, he can not be sued. "There is no federal law that conflicts with the defamation claims that Zervos brought against Trump, the judge wrote".
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Mariann Wang, the lawyer for the plaintiff, Summer Zervos, argued that a president is not above the law and said the US Supreme Court's ruling in Clinton v. Jones backs up her argument that Trump can be sued in state court.
"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. They also say his remarks were opinions that he had a free-speech right to express in the course of a heated campaign. The same year, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Trump kissed her, grabbed her breasts and "thrust his genitals" at her, Zervos alleges.
"We are very pleased that the First Department has affirmed once again that (Trump) 'is not above the law, '" Wang said in a statement Thursday.
In contrast to Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, Zervos and her lawyers have taken a low-key approach, a step that may help them negate claims that the suit is politically motivated.
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.
The current schedule sets a deadline of June 28 for depositions, with document and electronic discovery expected to be concluded by the end of July.
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