8:23am PT by Eriq Gardner
Donald Trump Can't Stop Discovery in 'Apprentice' Alum's Defamation Lawsuit
A New York appeals court has refused Donald Trump's bid to pause discovery in the defamation lawsuit brought by former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos.
Zervos is suing Trump over comments during the 2016 presidential election. After tape was published of Trump boasting to Access Hollywood's Billy Bush about grabbing women's genitals, Trump denied ever assaulting women. As Trump came under fire for his comments, several women, including Zervos, came forward. She accuses him of kissing her twice in 2007 and attacking her in a hotel room. "I never met her at a hotel," responded Trump, who would also attack allegations from his accusers as "100 percent fabricated and made-up charges, pushed strongly by the media and the Clinton campaign."
In her lawsuit, Zervos claims she's been branded as a liar.
Trump, in response, argued that the U.S. Constitution didn't allow this case to proceed right away thanks to the Supremacy Clause, which Trump's attorney, Marc Kasowitz, posited meant "that state governments, including their courts, refrain from interfering in the operations of the federal government."
"No one is above the law," wrote New York Supreme Court Judge Jennifer Schecter in allowing a defamation lawsuit in March.
"For the very same reasons articulated in Clinton v. Jones, a stay for the duration of the Trump presidency must be denied," the opinion stated. "Nothing in the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution even suggests that the President cannot be called to account for wrongful conduct that bears no relationship to any federal executive responsibility."
Looking to take advantage of this decision, Zervos' lawyers have sent out subpoenas. Trump has been given until May 29 to respond to a demand that he be deposed.
Trump hoped to delay everything by pushing New York's appeals court for a stay on the case while he continues to press his constitutional arguments to higher authorities. That won't happen.
The appellate decision today also could be meaningful to third parties, in particular MGM, which is facing a demand for Apprentice footage and documents showing any inappropriate comments from Trump toward women. It's possible that MGM may look to quash the subpoena or attempt to limit it in scope.
Zervos' attorneys also have subpoenaed records from the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Zervos says Trump made unwelcome advances in 2007.