A Woman Who Accused Trump of Assaulting Her Is Now Taking Him to Court

January 17th 2017

Lucy Tiven

Former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos filed a defamation lawsuit against President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday, Zervos and her attorney Gloria Allred announced at an afternoon press conference. The lawsuit concerns Trump's response to Zervos' allegation he made unwanted sexual advances toward her during a 2007 meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Allred said Trump “lied, debased and denigrated” Zervos, and the filing alleges Trump used “his national and international bully pulpit” to harm her reputation and those of other women who have levied sexual assault accusations against him.


From The Hollywood Reporter:

"The complaint zeroes in on Trump's initial statement upon Zervos' allegation that he "never met [Ms. Zervos] at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately," along with tweets how his accuser 'made up events THAT NEVER HAPPENED.' [Allred] also points to comments of "100% fabricated and made-up charges,' 'totally false,' and so forth, including, 'Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign.'"

An excerpt from the complaint describes the alleged 2007 incident.

"Mr. Trump knew that his false, disparaging statements would be heard and read by people around the world, and that these women, including Summer Zervos, would be subjected to threats of violence, economic harm, and reputational damage," the complaint reads.

Trump denied the 2007 incident with Zevos took place in in an October 14 statement. He attacked other accusers at numerous campaign events and television appearances.

"More of the same from Gloria Allred," transition team National Press Secretary Hope Hicks told ATTN: via email. "There is no truth to this absurd story."

The former "Apprentice" contestant said she would withdraw the suit if Trump retracts his statements, confirms she told the truth, and admits to his “sexually inappropriate” behavior.

The defamation claim brings up a larger question, though: What will happen to Trump's pending and ongoing lawsuits when he takes office?

"This is an extremely unusual situation," political and election law expert Stephen Kaufman told The Hollywood Reporter in early November. "Certainly no presidential candidate in modern times has potentially come to the Office of President with such a litigation cloud hanging over his head."

"Taking the office would not protect Mr. Trump from lawsuits that have been filed against him already or lawsuits that could be filed against him for civil matters that arose before he became president," Kaufman added. "Having said that, there would be a mountain of logistical issues in trying to pursue a civil claim against a president."

Though presidents aren't immune from these charges, plaintiffs may face difficulties scheduling depositions and other proceedings. However, the Supreme Court ruled against deferring litigation when Paula Jones sued former President Bill Clinton for sexual harassment in 1994.

You can watch Tuesday's press conference on the BBC.