NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for President Donald Trump and a former “Apprentice” contestant who sued the president for saying her sexual misconduct claims were lies are due in court in New York.
Tuesday’s court date is the first since a Manhattan judge turned down Trump’s bid to dismiss Greek-American Summer Zervos’ defamation lawsuit or delay it until after his presidency. The case is proceeding, while his lawyers appeal that decision.
The court appearance likely will focus on scheduling, but lawyers could bring up other issues. Neither Trump nor Zervos is required to be there in person.
Zervos, a California restaurateur, appeared in 2006 on Trump’s former reality show, “The Apprentice.” She says he subjected her to unwanted kissing and groping when she sought career advice in 2007.
She was among more than a dozen women who came forward late in the 2016 presidential campaign to say that Trump had sexually harassed or assaulted them.
The Republican denied all of the claims, saying they were “100 percent fabricated” and “totally false” and his accusers were “liars.” He specifically contested Zervos’ allegations in a statement and retweeted a message that included her photo and described her claims as a “hoax.”
Zervos says his words hurt her reputation, harmed her business and led to threats against her. She is seeking a retraction, an apology and compensatory and punitive damages.
Trump’s attorneys have said his statements were true, and also that his remarks were “non-defamatory opinions” that came amid the heated public debate of a national political campaign.
They also argue that a sitting president cannot be sued in a state court.