NEW YORK – A few weeks before his election, Donald Trump went against a list of women who had accused him of sexual misbehavior.
One of them was the Greek-American short-lived contestant on “The Apprentice,” Summer Zervos.
But by turning personal and branding the women liars, Trump has perhaps unwittingly played into a cutting-edge strategy in the legal pursuit of sexual misconduct — claims of defamation such as those used in the New York case, argued by two lawyers who are now representing Zervos, The Washington Post reports.
The defamation suit filed in January in New York State Supreme Court by Zervos, a contestant on Trump’s reality television show,” has reached a critical point, with oral arguments over Trump’s motion to dismiss scheduled for Tuesday, after which the judge is expected to rule on whether the case may move forward.
If it proceeds, Zervos’s attorneys could gather and make public incidents from Trump’s past and Trump could be called to testify, with the unwelcome specter of a former president looming over him: It was Bill Clinton’s misleading sworn testimony — not the repeated allegations of sexual harassment against him — that eventually led to his impeachment.
Attorney Gloria Allred called a press conference on October 14 at which she introduced the Greek-American woman Summer Zervos, The National Herald reported at the time.
Allred began by admonishing Trump, alleging numerous acts of sexual assault on his part, and stating that “the White House is not a locker room,” a reference to Trump’s response to a video released by NBC News on October 7 on which Trump is heard making lewd and profane remarks, for which he apologized and deemed them as “locker room talk.”
The 41-year-old California restaurateur explained that after she was “fired” (aka eliminated from competition) on the 2006 season of The Apprentice, she went to New York the following year and asked to have lunch with Trump. He was too busy for lunch, she explained, but asked her to stop by his office.
Zervos continued, that Trump greeted her with an open-mouth kiss, and after their meeting also said goodbye, again kissing her on the mouth. She said she was taken aback by this behavior, but after speaking with friends and family, they concluded that simply must be his bizarre way of greeting people.
Sometime shortly thereafter, Trump let her know that he was heading to California and invited her to dinner at a Beverly Hills hotel. She was brought to a bungalow where she said Trump again began kissing her and invited her to lay down in bed with her so they could watch TV, and he again made physical advances toward her.
Zervos says she pushed him away, indicating she wasn’t interested in having sexual relations with him. He acquiesced, got up, paced around the room – Zervos sensed he might be angry – and then it was all business. During dinner, delivered to the bungalow, Zervos said Trump told her she didn’t understand love and probably had never been in love.