Trump Won’t Have to Share Other Women’s Claims in Former Contestant’s Lawsuit
(Bloomberg) -- The former “Apprentice” contestant who sued Donald Trump for defamation can’t force the president to hand over evidence about other women who claim he sexually assaulted them, a New York judge ruled.
Summer Zervos does, however, have a right to any documents about how Trump decided to respond to her allegation that in 2007 he groped and kissed her, New York State Justice Jennifer Schecter ruled at a hearing in Manhattan Friday. He must also address Zervos’s claim that his public response, calling her story “phony,” was part of a strategy to discredit her.
Other women’s harassment allegations “don’t have any legitimate legal bearing” on Zervos’s defamation claim, the judge said. Zervos is one of at least 19 women who have come forward accusing him of sexual misconduct.
Trump also has to hand over his personal calendar information and phone records spanning a four-month period from 2007 to 2008, the judge said. Zervos’s lawyer, Mariann Wang, said the material is needed to orient Trump during a possible deposition about “where he was around that time period to refresh his recollection.”
Lawyers for the Trump Organization said at the hearing that Zervos’s demand for the calendar records were “overly broad.”
Zervos has dropped her claim for financial damages and is focusing on damages for emotional and reputational harm, Wang said.
Trump’s lawyers said they still want to get access to Zervos’s business records and personal financial information, in part to determine if she’s receiving money from anyone with political motivations.
“There are no such documents or agreements or anything like that,” Wang responded. The attorney said she already turned over details about Zervos’s GoFundMe page, where she accepts donations to pay her legal bills.
The judge’s ruling may turn out to be moot if a New York appeals court agrees with Trump that he has presidential immunity from the lawsuit because it was filed in a state court. An appellate panel is weighing that argument after a lower court ruled Trump had to face the lawsuit.
The case is Zervos v. Trump, 150522/2017, New York Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).
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