2:58pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Lawsuit Argues Donald Trump's Mental State in Denying Sexual Assault Is Relevant Evidence
Summer Zervos, who appeared on season five of The Apprentice and is now suing Donald Trump for defaming her when denying a sexual assault, continues her push for documents about the president's illicit sexual misconduct towards other women.
After being given the green light to move to discovery in her case, Zervos has submitted a motion to compel information from Trump. In August, her attorney Mariann Wang reported to the judge that Trump was refusing to turn over responsive documents.
Trump's lawyer Marc Kasowitz, in opposition, has warned that the case could turn into 21 mini-trials and argued that the information about illicit sexual conduct towards other women amounts to "propensity evidence," an inadmissible testing of his character.
On Wednesday, Zervos replied with word that evidence is needed for three reasons.
"First, evidence concerning Defendant’s other accusers is probative of his intent," states a court brief. "Defendant’s intent is directly at issue because he claims that Plaintiff is a 'limited public figure' — and thereby has imposed upon her the burden of proving that he intentionally lied about her or at least consciously disregarded the truth — and also because Plaintiff seeks punitive damages."
Zervos says the second reason is that she is entitled to discovery to refute any defense by Trump that his statements how women were fabricating accusations against him were in some respects substantially true.
"Several of the defamatory statements at issue refer to a group of women," continues the brief. "Plaintiff is entitled to discover information necessary to show that Defendant’s statements about all of the women in the group are false, lest Defendant attempt to escape liability by arguing that even if the portion of the pleaded statements about Plaintiff are false, those statements are substantially true as a whole because they are true about the other women. And Plaintiff is also entitled to discover whether Defendant lied when he bolstered his false statement about her by saying 'That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I have conducted my life.'"
Third, and finally, Zervos argues the evidence is reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence concerning Trump's credibility, which her lawyer acknowledges is a "core issue in this case."
Speaking of what's been happening in discovery, perhaps the most intriguing portion of the brief filed Wednesday is a redacted bit (see below) that at least makes clear that Trump's campaign has already produced documents that Zervos' side finds suggestive and indicative that "this is no fishing expedition."