Trump Lawyer Says Other Women’s Claims Don’t Belong in Zervos Lawsuit
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump told a New York judge that details about more than a dozen women who’ve accused him of sexual misconduct over the years are irrelevant to a defamation lawsuit filed by a former contestant on "The Apprentice" who claims he groped her.
Summer Zervos, who says Trump defamed her when he dismissed her allegation as a lie, is demanding the details as part of an improper "fishing expedition" to gather damaging information, Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz said in a Sept. 14 filing in state court in Manhattan.
Zervos wants Trump to identify any woman who ever alleged that he subjected her to unwanted sexual touching or other inappropriate behavior -- as well as details on any payments to those women. The details could show if Trump has deliberately made false statements about other accusers.
"It is telling that virtually none of the women about whom plaintiff seeks disclosure have brought their own action," Kasowitz said in the filing. Zervos only wants the information "to improperly attempt to show that defendant has a propensity to act in a similar manner here."
Because such evidence isn’t admissible, Kasowitz said, Trump shouldn’t have to turn it over.
To bolster his argument, Kasowitz cited a lawsuit by a woman who accused her psychiatrist of engaging in an improper sexual relationship with her. In that case, Kasowitz said, a New York appeals court ruled that the woman "could not admit evidence of defendant’s improper relationships with other patients."
Zervos, who met with Trump in hopes of securing a job after her Apprentice appearance in 2005, claims he “ambushed” her on more than one occasion starting in 2007, kissing her, touching her breast and pressing against her. She is one of at least 19 women who have come forward accusing him of sexual misconduct.
Trump has repeatedly denied such allegations.
New York Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter in May allowed Zervos to move forward with her case after Trump asserted immunity as a sitting president. Trump agreed to provide written answers in a deposition.
He has called the lawsuit politically motivated, saying he can’t be held liable for engaging in political speech that’s protected by the First Amendment.
The case is Zervos v. Trump, 150522/2017, New York Supreme Court, New York County.
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