'Apprentice' contestant's Trump defamation suit can proceed

An appeals court just delivered very bad news to Trump The President ‘is not above the law

An appeals court just delivered very bad news to Trump The President ‘is not above the law

In its ruling Thursday, a panel of NY appellate judges rejected that argument, citing the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Clinton v. Jones, which established that presidents can be sued while in office for unofficial acts.

An appellate court in NY ruled Thursday that a lawsuit by a former "Apprentice" contestant who accused President Trump of unwanted kisses and groping can proceed - shutting down claims by his lawyers that Trump is immune from defamation lawsuits while in office and raising the specter that he will have to sit for sworn questioning.

The judge then added that the Supreme Court said in reference to the Jones case,"The Supreme Court also considered that '[i] f Congress deems it appropriate to afford the President stronger protection, it may respond with appropriate legislation'".

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

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".

The ruling stems from a defamation lawsuit filed by former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos, who has accused Trump of making unwanted sexual advances toward her in 2007.

"We are very pleased that the First Department has affirmed once again that Defendant "is not above the law, '" Zervos" lawyer, Mariann Wang, said in a statement. In her lawsuit, she claims that she was defamed after Trump characterized her allegations as lies.

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Several other women have accused Mr Trump of improper sexual conduct.

From left to right: Summer Zervos, Orange County woman and former "Apprentice" contestant, arrives to New York County Criminal Court on December 5, 2017, in New York.

She came forward in October 2016, the month before Trump was elected, after an "Access Hollywood" recording showed Trump speaking in vulgar terms about women. Both Trump and Zervos are Republicans. The Court upheld a lower court's ruling that the case against the President can continue.

In 1997, the US Supreme Court let Ms Jones's case go forward. That paved the way for Clinton's impeachment the following year.

Justice Angela Mazzarelli, one of Thursday's dissenters, said the "all-consuming nature of the Presidency creates a constitutional barrier" against Zervos' lawsuit.

All five justices found Zervos' defamation claim legally sufficient, without ruling on its merits.

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.

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