Trump May Be Questioned in Ex-Apprentice Contestant's Suit

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump may have to answer questions by early next year from lawyers for a former contestant on "The Apprentice" whose lawsuit accusing him of defamation and sexual misconduct is moving forward despite his claims of immunity.

New York state Judge Jennifer Schecter rejected the latest of Trump’s lawyers repeated efforts to put the case on hold, and set a schedule for parties to exchange materials and file submissions with the court. Schechter said the two sides should submit to depositions, with a deadline of Jan. 31, but didn’t rule on whether Trump must be questioned.

"We understand it should be orderly and we want to cooperate with the defendant in good faith," Mariann Wang, a lawyer for Summer Zervos, an Apprentice contestant, told the judge Tuesday. "We should now, after a year and a half, be able to get moving."

Zervos sued Trump in January 2017 in New York state court claiming he defamed her when he said she lied about the encounters in which she said he forcibly kissed her. Zervos, who met with Trump in hopes of securing a job after her Apprentice appearance in 2005, is one of at least 19 women who have come forward accusing him of sexual misconduct.

Trump has denied the claims. His lawyers have asked a New York appeals court to put the suit on hold.

Wang told the judge that the Trump campaign has opposed Zervos’s request for documents relating to other women alleging they were subjected to "unwanted sexual touching or inappropriate conduct" by the president. Wang said Zervos will seek a "full range of damages" for defamation, including for emotional harm and business loss.

Trump’s lawyers have argued that he should be immune from the litigation under the Constitution, and are trying to overturn a March decision by Schecter denying their request to throw out the case on those grounds.

The case is Zervos v. Trump, 150522/2017, New York Supreme Court, New York County.

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