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Judge says Trump can be deposed in former ‘Apprentice’ contestant’s lawsuit By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Summer Zervos (a former Apprentice contestant) appears at New York State Supreme Court, Manhattan, New York. She is appearing during a hearing regarding a defamation suit against U.S. president Donald Trump, U.S.A, December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Barry Williams/Pool

Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters), A New York judge gave Donald Trump Monday’s Dec. 23 deadline for questioning under a defamation suit filed by a former contestant of “The Apprentice.” The lawsuit was brought against Trump after he denies the allegations.

Justice Jennifer Schecter, a Manhattan state court judge, ordered Trump to take a deposition after Summer Zervos’ lawyer claimed that Trump was planning to sue Summer Zervos under New York State Law to promote free speech.

Schecter was elected to rule after the conference at which the countersuit had been announced. Zervos and Trump lawyers accused each other of trying to stall.

Moira Penza (Zervos’ lawyer) stated that he could not delay the case for any more.

Zervos had sued Trump on January 2017 but it remains unresolved partly because Trump claimed while at the White House, that no sitting president can be sued.

This issue was resolved when Joe Biden won 2020’s presidential election. Trump became a private citizen. New York’s highest court made its ruling in March.

Alina Habba (Trump’s lawyer) stated that the court had “made its position very clear today. Ms. Zervos should comply with the court directive and present all pertinent and unfinished discovery.” We will vigorously defend the President from this frivolous suit in the interim.”

Zervos Lawyers could not be reached immediately for comment. Zervos’ deposition must take place by December 23,

Zervos accused Trump during the 2016 presidential election of unwelcome kissing and groping while she sought advice on career matters in 2007. This was two years after Zervos’ appearance on his reality TV show.

Trump sued her after calling such women-related allegations “lies”; he retweeted one post calling Zervos’ claim a “hoax”, and she filed suit.

Zervos requested a retract or apology and also compensatory, punitive, and other damages. Trump dismissed Zervos claims and called the case politically motivated.

Habba stated that Trump would counterclaim New York’s anti-SLAPP law. This law is intended to prevent lawsuits designed punishing or harassing defendants who speak out about public issues. It was extended last November in order to include more speech.

SLAPP stands to “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.”

E. Jean Carroll, a former columnist for Elle magazine is also suing Trump to be sued for defamation after he claimed that he had raped him in a Manhattan department shop in the middle of 1990s.

Trump denied defaming Carroll and refused to give a deposition. He also declined DNA evidence or provide any evidence. Some other women have also accused Trump of indecent sexual conduct.

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