The New York court said Trump’s argument that he is protected by the United States Constitution is moot, as he is no longer US president.
The defamation suit against Donald Trump filed by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos is back on track after New York’s highest court agreed the case should continue now that the onetime reality-TV host is no longer president.
Trump had argued the U.S. Constitution placed him, as president, beyond the reach of state courts. The New York Court of Appeals said that argument was moot now that he was no longer in office.
Zervos, who claims Trump sexually assaulted her more than a decade ago and then defamed her by calling her a liar, has said she’ll seek to depose Trump under oath in the case, one of several legal threats facing the former president as he maps out his political future. E. Jean Carroll, another accuser whom Trump has called a liar, is also planning to depose him in a defamation suit.
Trump’s presidential immunity argument was previously rejected by a trial judge. In March 2019, an intermediate appellate court in Manhattan also said Trump could be sued, saying in its decision that a “president is still a person.” Trump then appealed to the state’s highest court.
Zervos in February asked the court to throw out the appeal after Trump lost his bid for re-election, and Trump didn’t challenge the request.
Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s lawyer, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
The U.S. Supreme Court already ruled in 1997’s Clinton v. Jones that presidents can be sued in federal court.
Zervos, who met with Trump in hopes of securing a job after her TV appearance in 2005, sued Trump three days before he took office, accusing him of defaming her for denying her allegation that he’d groped her and forcefully kissed her at Trump Tower and at his bungalow in the Beverly Hills Hotel in California. Trump has repeatedly denied the allegations.