Politics

‘Apprentice’ contestant’s defamation suit against Trump cleared to proceed

Summer Zervos, a former “Apprentice” contestant.
Jeenah Moon/The New York Times
Summer Zervos, a former “Apprentice” contestant.

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York appeals court has ruled that President Donald Trump isn’t immune from a defamation lawsuit filed by a former ‘‘Apprentice’’ contestant who accused him of unwanted kissing and groping.

A state Supreme Court Appellate Division panel issued its ruling Thursday in a case brought by Summer Zervos.

The decision lets Zervos’ suit proceed and increases the prospect that Trump could have to sit for sworn questioning.

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Zervos was among over a dozen women who emerged during Trump’s 2016 campaign with allegations of sexual misconduct years earlier. He called the women liars.

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Trump’s lawyers have said the case shouldn’t go forward while he’s in office. They also say his comments were opinions and protected free speech. They say they plan to issue a response Thursday afternoon.

Zervos’ lawyers say Trump’s words were factual falsehoods that subjected her to threats.