Trump May Be Deposed in 'Apprentice' Groping Lawsuit

A judge in NY ruled on Tuesday that Clinton v. Jones, a unanimous Supreme Court ruling that established that a sitting president was not "absolutely immune" from civil lawsuits over actions he took before he was president, applies with equal force to a case brought by Summer Zervos, a former Apprentice contestant who is accusing Trump of defaming her during the presidential campaign.

The ruling could force Trump to submit to questioning by lawyers for Zervos and lead to further public scrutiny of other claims of sexual misconduct that have been made against the president.

In her decision allowing the lawsuit to move forward, Justice Jennifer Schecter cited the 1997 Supreme Court case Clinton v. Jones, writing that the ruling "held that a sitting president is not immune from being sued in federal court for unofficial acts".

Trump argued he should be shielded by the U.S. Constitution because it's too much of a distraction for the nation's chief executive to face civil claims in state court.

Though the president sought to have the defamation case either dismissed or put on hold until he leaves office, Judge Schechter found today that Trump's new title offers him no such privilege.

The longtime Washington attorney, Joseph diGenova, is expected to join the President's legal team at a time when Trump is taking a more aggressive approach to publicly dealing with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, lobbing a series of attacks against Mueller on Twitter over the weekend.

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A White House representative was not immediately available for comment on the ruling.

When Zervos spoke out in the weeks before the presidential election in 2016, Trump denied her claims. Trump said she made the allegations to get "ten minutes of fame".

Donald Trump accuser Summer Zervos, right, with attorney Gloria Allred at a press conference in October 2016.

The suit, filed in January 2017, alleged that Trump harmed her reputation by essentially calling her a liar.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to prove that defendant falsely branded Ms. Zervos a phony for telling the truth about his unwanted sexual groping", Wang said in an email.

"No one is above the law", the judge wrote.

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At least a dozen women aired complaints about past sexual misconduct by Trump before the election, although Zervos is the only one to bring court action.

Naomi Mezey, a law professor at Georgetown University, told Bloomberg that the decision is likely to be repealed and may even go to the Supreme Court.

"The issue of whether a president can have rights and liabilities adjudicated in state court is likely to reach the highest court in NY, in Albany", she said.

Zervos said that after appearing on Trump's show in 2006 she asked him for a job.

"There are no compelling reasons for delaying plaintiff's day in court", Justice Schecter said.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, sued the president on March 6, stating Trump never signed an agreement for her to keep quiet about an "intimate" relationship between them. Attorneys for Trump pushed back on multiple fronts, arguing that the suit was "politically motivated" and was built around "allegations of events that never occurred".

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