CLOSINGS: View Closings

Trump attorney will appeal judge's decision in Summer Zervos defamation case

President Donald Trump's attorney plans to appeal a New York Supreme Court judge's decision to allow a defamation law...

Posted: Mar 22, 2018 10:44 AM
Updated: Mar 22, 2018 10:44 AM

President Donald Trump's attorney plans to appeal a New York Supreme Court judge's decision to allow a defamation lawsuit against the President to go forward.

The suit was filed by former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos in January 2017 and alleges Trump defamed her after she accused him in an October 2016 news conference of sexually assaulting her in 2007.

"We disagree with this decision, which is wrong as a matter of constitutional law," said Marc Kasowitz, who is representing Trump in the case. "We intend to immediately appeal and will seek a stay of the case until this issue is finally determined."

The decision by New York Supreme Court Judge Jennifer Schecter is a significant development for a President already facing a lawsuit by an adult film star who was paid to keep quiet about her allegations of a consensual affair with Trump. It could also open the floodgates for similar cases focused not on the misconduct itself, but on Trump's response to the allegations. Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen said in a statement that Trump "vehemently denies" any encounter with porn star Stormy Daniels.

Zervos says Trump kissed her twice on the lips during a lunch meeting in his New York City office, and alleges he kissed her aggressively and touched her breast on a separate occasion in Beverly Hills.

Trump has repeatedly denied Zervos' claims.

On the same day that Zervos held a news conference to make her allegations public, Trump responded in a statement that was widely reported and appeared on his campaign website, "To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago. That is not who I am as a person and it is not how I've conducted my life."

He repeated his denials in campaign rallies and at presidential debates and even re-tweeted a tweet that included a picture of Zervos and the words, "This is all yet another hoax."

Trump's lawyers had filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing during a December 2017 hearing that a President has immunity from such lawsuits in state courts and that the case would conflict with his official duties, arguments Schecter dismissed. The team also tried to argue the President's frequent denials of accusations made by Zervos and others were protected political speech as statements of opinion.

But Schecter ruled, "defendant's repeated statements -- which were not made through op-ed pieces or letters to the editor but rather were delivered in speeches, debates and through Twitter, a preferred means of communication often used by the defendant -- cannot be characterized simply as opinion, heated rhetoric or hyperbole," she said. "That defendant's statements about plaintiff's veracity were made while he was campaigning to become President of the United States, does not make them any less actionable."

Tuesday's ruling cites the 1997 Clinton vs. Jones sexual harassment lawsuit, in which the US Supreme Court held that a sitting president is not immune from being sued in federal court for unofficial acts.

That case left open the question of whether "concerns of federalism and comity compel a different conclusion for suits brought in state court." Schecter ruled such concerns do not prevent this case from moving forward.

"No one is above the law," she wrote. "It is settled that the President of the United States has no immunity and is 'subject to the laws' for purely private acts."

The lawsuit could have huge ramifications for Trump, who could possibly be deposed in the case and potentially called on to testify. Zervos' legal team subpoenaed Trump's campaign in March of 2017 for all documents relating to her, all communications with or about her and "all documents concerning any woman who asserted that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately." The subpoena was served to the campaign, but the two legal teams agreed to suspend the response date until after the motion to dismiss the lawsuit was decided.

Zervos is one of more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct ranging from groping of their buttocks and genitalia to unwanted kissing. He has also been accused by two additional women of inappropriate behavior like ogling. Trump's team has denied all of the allegations.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 292811

Reported Deaths: 6613
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19515228
Hinds18611385
Harrison16431275
Rankin12543261
Jackson12419216
Lee9641160
Madison9378194
Jones7857145
Forrest7094136
Lauderdale6760225
Lowndes5998137
Lamar581180
Lafayette5698113
Washington5135128
Bolivar4580120
Oktibbeha438691
Panola424992
Warren4101113
Pearl River4083128
Pontotoc406668
Marshall398392
Monroe3977126
Union392173
Neshoba3758166
Lincoln3447100
Hancock338673
Leflore3349118
Sunflower316685
Tate299874
Pike298293
Scott291867
Alcorn289660
Itawamba288571
Yazoo283262
Tippah275465
Copiah273957
Coahoma272666
Simpson270778
Prentiss267658
Leake251370
Wayne250540
Marion249878
Covington247178
Grenada244676
Adams232877
George229845
Newton223151
Winston220274
Tishomingo211465
Jasper211244
Attala205969
Chickasaw200550
Holmes181470
Clay177848
Stone171129
Tallahatchie169239
Clarke168271
Calhoun155527
Smith151531
Yalobusha142236
Greene126533
Walthall123340
Noxubee122629
Perry120934
Montgomery120537
Lawrence119021
Carroll117223
Amite110732
Webster109229
Jefferson Davis99931
Tunica98023
Claiborne97329
Benton92524
Humphreys91326
Kemper89422
Quitman76614
Franklin75419
Choctaw69416
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61027
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 490220

Reported Deaths: 9744
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson704661342
Mobile35810721
Madison32203443
Tuscaloosa23961409
Montgomery22417489
Shelby21773211
Baldwin19635272
Lee14883147
Morgan13571248
Etowah13118312
Calhoun13090283
Marshall11212203
Houston10036257
Limestone9321133
Elmore9313179
Cullman8864177
St. Clair8771220
Lauderdale8570210
DeKalb8419173
Talladega7450162
Walker6492249
Jackson6466102
Autauga617285
Blount6072125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5229100
Dale4614106
Russell401431
Franklin397675
Covington3948105
Chilton383196
Escambia376670
Tallapoosa3559139
Clarke342749
Dallas3396140
Chambers3393103
Pike292771
Lawrence281284
Marion280793
Winston245665
Bibb243759
Marengo238554
Geneva238468
Pickens223554
Barbour209550
Hale208464
Fayette199356
Butler195165
Henry182341
Cherokee176338
Monroe165638
Randolph162740
Washington156233
Crenshaw143353
Clay143254
Macon140543
Cleburne136539
Lamar131632
Lowndes130148
Wilcox120825
Bullock116534
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98231
Coosa86823
Greene86732
Choctaw54723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 59°
Columbus
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 63°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 55°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 61°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather