Former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos' defamation suit against Donald Trump can move forward, an appellate court has ruled.
Trump's legal team can seek to have the appellate court's ruling reviewed by the New York State Supreme Court in Albany.
Lawyers for Trump had argued that the "Supremacy Clause" of the US Constitution "immunized the President from being sued in state court while in office".
From left to right: Summer Zervos, Orange County woman and former "Apprentice" contestant, arrives to New York County Criminal Court on December 5, 2017, in New York.
But the split decision likely foreshadows an appeal, perhaps to the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals.
Trump has denied Zervos' claims and called her case politically motivated.
Zervos' lawyers said Trump's words were factual falsehoods that subjected her to threats and cost her business at her Southern California restaurant.
"We look forward to proving to a jury that Ms Zervos told the truth about defendant's unwanted sexual groping and holding him accountable for his malicious lies", said Ms Zervos's lawyer, Mariann Wang.Her resolve to stay quiet changed, she said, after an "Access Hollywood" recording emerged in October 2016 of Trump boasting about groping women. The Court upheld a lower court's ruling that the case against the President can continue. In a lengthy opinion, Judge Diane Renwick explained why Trump's legal arguments failed, and cited an ironic source for good measure.
Trump had appealed a lower court's ruling a year ago that allowed the case to proceed, arguing that the Constitution's Supremacy Clause bars a lawsuit against a sitting president in state court because it would interfere with his duties. In a June 2018 lawsuit, the Attorney General claimed the foundation was operated as a "shell corporation that functioned as a checkbook" for Mr. Trump, his campaign and businesses. Among them: James said that the foundation's board, which was legally required to oversee the charity's spending, had not met since 1999. Zervos sued for defamation.
Zervos, who once was repped by attorney Gloria Allred, alleges that Trump kissed her twice without consent during a lunch meeting at his NYC office. He also issued a statement denying it.
Adult-film actress Stormy Daniels had filed a separate suit against Trump, arguing that he defamed her when he suggested that she had lied about being threatened to keep quiet about their alleged past relationship. "The result the Supreme Court reached in Jones. may well have been entirely correct".
Zervos was among more than a dozen women who came forward late in the 2016 presidential campaign to say that Mr. Trump had sexually harassed or assaulted them.
That lawsuit was dismissed on March 7.
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