Trump Says Calling Summer Zervos a Liar Was Just ‘Fiery Rhetoric’
(Bloomberg) -- Former President Donald Trump said he was just engaging in “fiery rhetoric” when he said a former “Apprentice” contestant was lying about being sexually assaulted by him more than a decade ago.
Trump said the defamation lawsuit filed against him by Summer Zervos was doomed to fail because he was simply using hyperbole to deny her allegation. He made the argument in a filing on Wednesday in New York state court in Manhattan, where he’s seeking a judge’s approval to amend his response to her 2017 suit and file a counterclaim.
Zervos said in a filing last week that Trump was trying to delay a court-ordered deposition, which must take place by Dec. 23, but the former president denied he was engaging in stall tactics.
“This argument is patently absurd, disingenuous, and entirely unfounded,” his lawyer, Alina Habba, said in the filing.
Trump did manage to stall the suit for years by arguing a sitting president can’t be sued in state court. New York judges rejected that defense, but Trump’s appeals kept the case from moving forward until he left the White House.
He is counterclaiming that Zervos’s suit was filed in bad faith with the intent to chill public discourse in violation of New York law. According to Trump, she intentionally “solicited” the allegedly defamatory statements by accusing him of assault and waiting for him to deny it.
The case is Zervos v. Trump, 150522/2017, New York Supreme Court, New York County.
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