© Reuters File Photo: Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, appeared in the New York State Supreme Court against US President Donald Trump on December 5, 2017 in Manhunt, New York, USA. Pool
By Jonathan Stampel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York State judge on Monday set a December 2 deadline for former US President Donald Trump to be questioned in a defamation suit filed by a former contestant on The Apprentice after he denied allegations of sexual harassment.
Justice Jennifer Shakter of New York State Court in Manhattan said Trump must submit his statement, after his lawyer said Trump planned to treat his accused, Summer Zervos, to encourage freedom of speech under the law of an independent state.
Shektar ruled after a conference in which a planned countersuit was announced, and Trump and Zervos’ lawyers accused their opponents of stopping them.
“He can no longer delay the case,” Zervos’s lawyer, Moira Penza, told the conference.
Zervos filed a lawsuit against Trump in January 2011, but the lawsuit remains partially unresolved because Trump argued while in the White House that a lawsuit could not be filed against the current president.
The issue became unresolved after Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, which made Trump a private citizen, the New York Supreme Court ruled in March.
In a statement, Trump’s new lawyer, Alina Habba, said the trial court “made its position clear today – Mrs. Zervos must comply with the court’s order and make all relevant and outstanding discoveries. Against this trivial case.”
Zervos’ lawyers were not immediately available for comment. Any deposits from Zervos must be made by December 23.
During the 201st presidential campaign, Zervos accused Trump of unwanted kissing and violence in 2007 when he went to seek career advice in 2007, two years after he appeared on a reality television show.
She called such allegations by women against Trump “false” and re-tweeted a post calling Zervos’ claims “deceptive.”
Zervos has sought withdrawal or apology as well as compensation and punitive damages. Trump has denied Zervos’ claims and called his case politically motivated.
Hubba said Trump would file a counter-claim under New York’s “anti-SLAPP” law, which aims to prevent lawsuits designed to punish or harass defendants for speaking out on public issues and was extended last November to cover more speeches.
SLAPP means “strategic lawsuit against public participation.”
When the former came, the magazine’s columnist E.
Trump has denied Carroll’s defamation, and has protested to testify or provide DNA evidence. He has denied allegations of sexual misconduct by several other women.
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