New York judge rules defamation suit against Trump can move forward

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A New York state judge has ruled that a defamation suit against President Trump brought by a former “Apprentice” contestant who accused him of sexual misconduct can move forward.


New York state Supreme Court Judge Jennifer Schecter on Tuesday also set a Jan. 31, 2019, deadline for discovery in Summer Zervos’s lawsuit, according to BuzzFeed News.

Zervos, a 2006 “Apprentice” contestant, was one of more than a dozen women to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct during the presidential campaign. The White House’s official position on the accusations is that the women are lying.

Trump’s lawyers have attempted to block Zervos’s case from going forward, arguing that Trump is immune from the lawsuit because he is a sitting president.

Schecter ruled in March that Trump’s office does not give him immunity from being sued.

Trump’s lawyers are hoping to appeal that ruling.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, said that the lawsuit should be halted until the New York appeals court or the U.S. Supreme Court decides the issue, according to Reuters.

Trump’s lawyers have continued to argue that Trump has immunity from the lawsuit and filed a motion asking that Zervos’s lawsuit be halted, which a New York appeals court rejected last month.

Zervos filed the defamation lawsuit against Trump just days before the inauguration.

Trump has repeatedly claimed in recent days that he has the right to pardon himself, if such a situation were to arise in the Russia probe. The claims, both by Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, have sparked pushback from legal experts and lawmakers.

Kasowitz also suggested Tuesday that he may take legal action to prevent other accusers from testifying in the Zervos case, according to Reuters.

Updated at 11:37 a.m.

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