The Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday rejected President Donald Trump's motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Summer Zervos, a former "Apprentice" contestant who accused him of sexual misconduct and defamation. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
May 17 (UPI) -- A New York appeals court ruled Thursday a defamation case brought by a former reality television contestant against President Donald Trump can proceed.
The Manhattan Supreme Court rejected Trump's argument that the Constitution protects him from the lawsuit because he is president.
"Now, upon reading and filing the papers with respect to the motion, and due deliberation having been had thereon, it is ordered that the motion is denied," the five-judge appeals panel said in a one-page ruling.
In March, New York State Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter also rejected Trump's request to dismiss the lawsuit.
"Nothing in the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution even suggests that the President cannot be called to account before a state court for wrongful conduct that bears no relationship to any federal executive responsibility," she said in her ruling at the time.
The ruling cited a 1997 Supreme Court decision regarding Paula Jones' lawsuit against former President Bill Clinton. In that case, the court held that Clinton did not have immunity in federal lawsuits over private acts.
Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump's former NBC reality show The Apprentice, said she filed the defamation suit because of his public response to her accusation of sexual assault in 2007. She said Trump attacked, denigrated and lied about her during rallies and interviews.
Zervos said she would be willing to drop the suit if the Trump retracts what he said and admits to the assault.
"We look forward to proving Ms. Zervos' claim that defendant lied when he maliciously attacked her for reporting his sexually abusive behavior," Zervos' attorney, Marianne Wang, told The New York Post on Thursday.
Susan McFarland contributed to this report.