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‘He’s NOT above the law!’ In landmark ruling, Judge clears Trump accuser, Summer Zervos to sue president in defamation case

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Trump setback in accuser’s defamation case is first of its kind as Trump loses bid to dismiss defamation lawsuit by ‘Apprentice’ contestant who says he sexually harassed her
Then real estate magnate Donald Trump, 71, has been accused by Summer Zervos  of groping her and pressing his privates against her in 2007
Zervos, a contestant on Season 5 of Trump’s reality show ‘The Apprentice’, alleges that Trump kissed her several times and tried to force himself on her during two separate meetings
When made the accuser first made her claim in 2016, candidate Trump dismissed her allegations as “fiction” made up for “personal gain”
Zervos sued, claiming Trump defamed her by branding her a liar after she went public right before the 2016 presidential election
Citing the ruling the Supreme Court ruling in “Clinton v Jones” on Tuesday,  Justice Jennifer Schecter held that a ‘sitting president is not immune from being sued in federal court for unofficial acts’
That sexual harassment suit ultimately led to the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying under oath about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky
The judge dismissed Trump team arguments that presidents are shielded from civil litigation in state courts under the US Constitution’s supremacy clause

Trump had argued that presidents are shielded from civil litigation in state courts under the US Constitution’s supremacy clause.
“It is settled that the President of the United States has no immunity and is ‘subject to the laws’ for purely private acts,” Schecter added.
The decision means that Summer Zervos, who in 2016 accused then-candidate Trump of groping her and pressing his privates against her in 2007, can pursue her defamation case against the president for saying that her allegations were “fiction” and claiming she made them up for “personal gain.”

Trump setback in accuser’s defamation case is first of its kindThen reality show host Donald Trump [left], has been accused by Summer Zervos [right], of groping her and pressing his privates against her in 2007

The judge added that Trump’s comments could lead people to view the former reality TV star as “contemptible”.
The ruling also means that Trump will likely have to sit for a deposition in the case as Schecter said the suit has merit.
“His statements can be proven true or false, as they pertain to whether [Zervos] made up allegations to pursue her own agenda,” the judge said.
The president’s attorney, Marc Kasowitz, had asked the judge to toss or delay the case until the president left office, arguing that “there can’t be any curtailment” on his duties.
“Thomas Jefferson made clear that the president’s responsibilities are 24/7, every single day no matter what he or she is doing,” Kasowitz said during oral arguments in December.
But Schecter said there’s “absolutely no authority for dismissing or staying the case.”
“In Clinton v Jones the United States Supreme Court held that a sitting president is not immune from being sued in federal court for unofficial acts,” Schecter wrote, citing the sexual harassment suit that led to the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying under oath about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
“It left open the question of whether concerns of federalism and comity compel a different conclusion for suits brought in state court. Because they do not, defendant’s motion to dismiss this case or hold it in abeyance is denied,” Schecter ruled.
“Nothing in the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution even suggests that the president cannot be called to account before a state court for wrongful conduct that bears no relationship to any federal executive responsibility,” Schecter found.
“Significantly, when unofficial conduct is at issue, there is no risk that a state will improperly encroach on powers given to the federal government by interfering with the manner in which the President performs federal functions,” she wrote.
As much as it is “important [that] federal responsibilities take precedence” over the civil case, the judge observed, still “There are no compelling reasons for delaying plaintiff’s day in court”,  she said.
When Zervos spoke out in the weeks before the presidential election in 2016, Trump denied her claims. The statute of limitations for the alleged misconduct has long passed. So Zervos and her lawyer Gloria Allred tried a different legal approach and filed a suit against Trump for defamation.

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