Trump aims to countersue sex assault accuser who sued him


PTI, Oct 20, 2021, 9:25 AM IST

Former President Donald Trump wants to countersue a former “Apprentice” contestant who accused him of defaming her when he denied her sexual assault allegations.

Saying that Trump is being harassed to keep him from speaking freely, his lawyer asked a court’s permission Monday to pursue a counterclaim against Summer Zervos.

The request comes as Zervos’ nearly five-year-old defamation suit is nearing an important phase. Both he and she are due to undergo questioning under oath by Dec. 23.

Zervos says Trump hurt her reputation by saying she lied in accusing him of unwelcome kissing and groping in 2007 — claims she aired publicly during his 2016 presidential campaign.

His denials included retweeting a message that called her claims “a hoax.” He also described a series of women who accused him of sexual assault and harassment as “liars” trying to torpedo his White House hopes.

Trump’s former lawyers responded years ago that he didn’t defame Zervos. They said his statements were true and protected by free speech rights.

Now he wants to bolster his defense by drawing on a 2020 New York law that makes it easier to defeat defamation claims involving public communication on issues of public interest.

The law was envisioned as helping journalists, activists and others beat back groundless claims from powerful interests that want to sue them into silence. Trump lawyer Alina Habba argues it applies to statements the future president “made at the highest levels of the national stage,” including during a debate.

Zervos sued “for the sole purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing or otherwise maliciously inhibiting” Trump and his free speech rights, Habba wrote in court papers filed Monday. They seek unspecified damages, plus attorneys’ fees.

Zervos’ lawyers, Beth Wilkinson and Moira Penza, said New York’s laws don’t “provide a license for Mr. Trump to avoid accountability for his words.”

“We look forward to taking Mr. Trump’s deposition and zealously fighting his unwarranted attacks against our client,” Wilkinson and Penza said in a statement. They called his filing “a desperate reaction” to the December deadline for depositions, a legal term for sworn pretrial questioning by the other side’s attorneys.

Monday’s filing came as Trump answered hours of questions in a deposition in a different lawsuit, filed by protesters who say his security team roughed them up in 2015. He said in a statement after the deposition that the protesters’ claim was “baseless harassment” and that he was glad to tell his side of that story.

Zervos, a California restaurateur, appeared on “The Apprentice” in 2006, when Trump hosted the show. She says she contacted him the next year to talk about her career. According to her, he then made unwanted advances during meetings at his New York office and at a California hotel where he was staying.

She’s seeking unspecified damages, a retraction of his allegedly defamatory statements and an apology.

The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted, unless they come forward publicly, as Zervos has.

Udayavani is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest news.

Top News

Mangaluru: Minor girl sexually harassed by man at Talapady; Accused arrested

US reports 1st case of omicron variant in returning traveler

77 kg of ice cream cups and spoons removed from a cow’s stomach

Task force recommends setting up Karnataka career guidance centre of excellence

Kerala models’ death in car crash: Arrested interior designer chased them, say police

Possession of unlicensed country guns: One held at MIA

B’luru: ESIC Hospital director removed after bodies of Covid victims found rotting in morgue for 16 months


Related Articles More

What’s the status of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the US?

US reports 1st case of omicron variant in returning traveler

Japan retracts new flight bookings ban after criticisms

Pakistan issues visas to Indian pilgrims

South Korea confirms first five cases of omicron variant

MUST WATCH

S R Vishwanaths Conspiracy Gopal Krishnas response

Yalahanka BJP Lawmaker SR Vishwanath Assassination supari plan by Congress leader Video revealed

Barbados Becomes A Republic

NEWS BULLETIN 01-12-2021

Deadbody found at Bidirutala Forest Moodigere


Latest Additions

Mangaluru: Minor girl sexually harassed by man at Talapady; Accused arrested

Kundapur: Rs 3 lakhs worth gold ornaments stolen from exhibition

Serum Institute seeks DCGI’s approval for Covishield as booster dose

Channi calls AAP ‘kale angrej’, Kejriwal vouches for ‘fair’ intention

What’s the status of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the US?

Thanks for visiting Udayavani

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.
To continue reading, please turn it off or whitelist Udayavani.