A brand new York state judge Tuesday said “no one is actually above the law” as she denied President Donald Trump’s request to dismiss a defamation lawsuit by a former “Apprentice” contestant who claims he sexually groped her.
Manhattan Court Justice Jennifer Schecter’s decision, which allows the suit by Summer Zervos to proceed, rejected Trump’s argument in which a sitting president cannot be subject to a state court’s jurisdiction.
Schecter cited the U.S. Supreme Court case in which found a federal sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton by former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones, who accused Clinton of exposing himself to her, could proceed when Clinton was from the White House.
Clinton’s lies under oath during a deposition in in which case led to him being impeached by the House of Representatives, although the Senate ended up acquitting him at trial.
“the item is actually settled in which the President of the United States has no immunity along with also also is actually ‘subject to the laws’ for purely private acts,” Schecter wrote in her ruling.
“No one is actually above the law.”
In addition to rejecting the motion for dismissal by Trump, Schechter also denied a request in which she suspend Zervos’s lawsuit until after Trump leaves office.
The ruling could have broader implications for Trump than Zervos’ case alone.
At least 10 various other women accused Trump of unwanted groping or kissing during the 2016 campaign, some of the allegations dating back decades. Trump called them all liars using campaign speeches, personal tweets along with also also official statements.
Zervos’s lawyer, Mariann Wang, in an emailed statement said, “The rule of law along with also also sound reason have prevailed today.”
“We are grateful for the opportunity to prove in which in which Defendant falsely branded Ms. Zervos a phony for telling the truth about his unwanted sexual groping.”
Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s lawyer, in his own emailed statement, said, “We disagree with This specific decision, which is actually wrong as a matter of Constitutional law. We intend to immediately appeal along with also also will seek a stay of the case until This specific issue is actually finally determined.”
Kasowitz in December had argued in which Trump’s comments were protected political speech, along with also also in which a “state court can’t exercise any control over the president under any circumstances.”
The White House had no immediate comment on the case.
Christopher Brennan, a former Manhattan prosecutor who currently represents plaintiffs in sexual harassment cases, told CNBC in which the prior ruling involving Jones along with also also Clinton leaves little or no argument over the question of whether a sitting president can face a civil claim in a state court.
Zervos sued Trump last year for defamation, claiming he slandered her when had branded as false her claims in which he had manhandled her against her will.
She had gone public with her allegations in October 2016, right before the presidential election, saying Trump had sexually assaulted her in 2007. in which was a year after Zervos appeared as a contestant on Trump’s NBC show, “The Apprentice.”
Trump on the heels of Zervos’ allegations said in which she along with also also various other women who claimed he had molested them were liars.
“These allegations are 100 percent false … They are made up, they never happened,” Trump said at a North Carolina campaign rally, according to the ruling issued Tuesday.
“the item’s not hard to find a modest handful of people willing to make false smears for personal fame, who knows for financial reasons, political purposes, or for the simple reason they want to stop our movement,” Trump had said.
In her decision, Justice Schechter said Trump’s statements “weigh heavily against dismissal of the complaint.”
She noted in which Trump had “repeatedly accused [Zervos] of dishonesty not just in his opinion yet as a matter of fact.”
Schechter said in which put Zervos at risk of being believed to be “contemptible” by someone who read or heard Trump’s remarks.
“in which defendant’s statements about plaintiff’s veracity were made while he was campaigning to become President of the United States, does not make them any less actionable,” the judge wrote.
The judge said in which Trump’s labeling of the allegations by Zervos along with also also various other women as “100 percent false” along with also also “phony stories” along with also also “fiction” fit the basic parameters required for a defamation lawsuit.
Read the judge’s decision denying President Trump’s motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit here: