Judge says Trump may be deposed in former ‘Apprentice’ contestant’s lawsuit

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NEW YORK, Oct 4 (Reuters) – A New York state decide on Monday gave former U.S. President Donald Trump a Dec. 23 deadline to bear questioning in a defamation lawsuit filed by a former contestant on “The Apprentice” after he denied her sexual assault accusations.

Justice Jennifer Schecter of the New York state court docket in Manhattan mentioned Trump should undergo a deposition, after his lawyer mentioned Trump deliberate to countersue his accuser, Summer Zervos, below a state regulation designed to encourage free speech.

Schecter dominated after a convention the place the deliberate countersuit was introduced, and legal professionals for Trump and Zervos accused their opponents of stalling.

“He just cannot delay this case any longer,” Zervos’ lawyer Moira Penza mentioned on the convention.

Zervos had sued Trump in January 2017, however the case stays unresolved partly as a result of Trump argued whereas within the White House {that a} sitting president couldn’t be sued.

That situation turned moot after Joe Biden received the 2020 presidential election, which made Trump a personal citizen, New York’s highest court docket dominated in March.

In a press release, Trump’s new lawyer, Alina Habba, mentioned the trial court docket “made its position clear today – Ms. Zervos must comply with the court’s directive and produce all relevant and outstanding discovery. In the meantime, we will be vigorously defending the President against this frivolous lawsuit.”

Lawyers for Zervos weren’t instantly out there for remark. Any deposition of Zervos should additionally happen by Dec. 23.

During the 2016 presidential marketing campaign, Zervos had accused Trump of subjecting her to undesirable kissing and groping when she sought profession recommendation in 2007, two years after her look on his actuality tv present.

She sued Trump after he known as such allegations by girls “lies” and retweeted a publish calling Zervos’ claims a “hoax.”

Zervos has sought a retraction or an apology, plus compensatory and punitive damages. Trump has denied Zervos’ claims and known as her case politically motivated.

Habba mentioned Trump would file a counterclaim below New York’s “anti-SLAPP” regulation, which is supposed to discourage lawsuits designed to punish or harass defendants for talking out on public points and was expanded final November to cowl extra speech.

SLAPP stands for “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.”

Former Elle journal columnist E. Jean Carroll can be suing Trump for defamation, after he denied having raped her in a Manhattan division retailer within the mid-Nineties.

Trump has denied defaming Carroll, and resisted giving a deposition or offering DNA proof. He has additionally denied claims by a number of different girls of improper sexual conduct.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler

REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, appears in New York State Supreme Court during a hearing on a defamation case against U.S. President Donald Trump in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Barry Williams/Pool/File Photo

Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends a rally in Perry, Georgia, U.S. September 25, 2021. REUTERS/Dustin Chambers