President Donald Trump may learn on Tuesday whether he will be forced to testify in court whether he sexually assaulted a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” that would put him in jeopardy of impeachment.
According to Business Insider, attorneys for the president will appear at a New York state Supreme Court hearing where they will try to have a defamation case filed by Summer Zervos thrown out.
Last year, Zervos, accompanied by her attorney Gloria Allred, accused Trump of kissing her, groping her breasts, and “thrusting” his genitals at her in a 2007 meeting at The Beverly Hills Hotel. After Trump called Zervos a liar when addressing the press, her attorney slapped him with a defamation suit for damaging her reputation.
Trump’s attorneys will attempt to have the suit dismissed, saying a sitting president can’t be sued — but recent history is not Trump’s friend in this matter.
Former President Bill Clinton was compelled to give testimony in a suit filed by Paula Jones, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997, and his prevarications lead to impeachment hearings.
“The precedent is not on Trump’s side,” explained Georgetown University’s law school professor Susan Low Bloch.
Trump’s attorneys will attempt to defend the president’s disparaging comments as “political speech” delivered in the heat of a presidential campaign.
“All of the statements occurred on political forums — a campaign website, on Mr. Trump’s Twitter account, in a presidential debate, and at campaign rallies — where the listeners expect to hear public debate, taken as political opinion rather than a defamatory statement,” Trump’s lawyers stated in a court filing.
Zervos’ attorney Allred disputes the claim, saying, “We believe that President Trump should be accountable for his statements. No one enjoys a license to defame based on power, wealth or privilege.”
Zervos is one of more than a dozen women who have accused the president of sexual harassment or assault.