Pursuant to the statement of Summer Zervos (attached to the right), she was a candidate on The Apprentice during Season 5. She claims after filming ended, she visited Donald J. Trump’s office in 2007. When she arrived, she claimed, “he kissed me on the lips.” She claims he did so again when she left. Upon Trump’s visit to Los Angeles, Trump allegedly attempted to kiss her again and then “put his hand on (her) breast.” He allegedly tried to walk her to the bedroom. She claims Trump “sexually harassed” her and otherwise broke promises related to employment based on her refusal of his sexual advances.
Zervos came forward prior to Trump’s election as President of the United States. She claims she, “felt a responsibility to inform the public of the true facts.” Upon coming forward, Trump denied the subject facts, called her a liar and otherwise used Twitter and the power of the Office of the Presidency to disparage her.
Non Disclosure Agreement / Non Disparage Agreement:
Candidates of the Apprentice entered into Non Disclosure and Non Disparage Agreements. However, no known legal claims or defenses in this matter involve the NDA at this time.
On January 17, 2017, Zervos filed a lawsuit, seeking “all available remedies,” including a retraction and apology (see Paragraph 83 of Complaint). She sued for defamation.
Team Trump filed a Motion to Dismiss or Abeyance, largely based on Clinton v. Jones, citing a sitting President is immune from suit. Judge Jennifer G. Schecter of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York (Part 57), stated emphatically, “No one is above the law,” emphasizing Clinton v. Jones in no way “mandate(s) a stay of all private actions against the President.” It further pointed out that this was a state court civil action related to unofficial conduct. She also denied a stay of the proceedings, indicating federal responsibilities will take precedence, but there was no reason to delay things in a “lengthy and categorical” manner. The Complaint was found to state a cause of action. The fact that the statements were made during a Presidential Campaign, “does not make them any less actionable.”
Team Trump sought a stay of the lower court action and same was denied. Concurrently, it filed an appeal of the Court’s order based on several claims: (1) The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution bars state courts from exercising jurisdiction over a sitting President; (2) the Court’s failure to Stay the action interfere’s with Trump’s Article II responsibilities under the U.S. Constitution; (3) the Complaint fails to state a cause of action and Trump’s statements were protected under the First Amendment, that general denials are “not actionable, that Trump’s statements were vague or imprecise, Trump didn’t publish any statements and most of any statements did not concern Zervos; (4) California’s anti-SLAPP statute should bar this suit.
On June 14, 2018, the appellate court dismissed Team Trump’s appeal on procedural grounds.
No further information can be found.
Statement from Zervos’s lawyers:
Zervos’s lawyer, Mariann Meier Wang and Cuti, Hecker Wang, LLP, made the following statement on its website:
“Both appellate courts denied Defendant’s multiple attempts for a stay. The case is now progressing on two fronts: the substantive appeal will be argued before the Appellate Division on October 18, 2018, and the discovery phase has begun in the trial court.
Discovery is well underway both between the parties and from third parties. Ms. Zervos’s lawyers have issued non-party subpoenas to the Trump Campaign, the producers of The Apprentice, the Beverly Hills Hotel, and others. As discovery progresses, the costs of this case increase.”
There is a gofundme account with $30k plus in it- https://www.gofundme.com/zervos-v-trump-legal-fund.
- Statement by Ms. Zervos (10/14/16)
- Complaint (dated 1/17/17)
- Order Apparently in Response to a Motion to Dismiss (3/20/18)
- Notice of Appeal of Court’s Order by Team Trump (4/1/18)
- Denial of Stay (5/21/18)
- Docket Entry from Appellate Court (6/4/18), which states: “On the Court’s own motion, appeal dismissed, without costs, upon the ground that the order appealed from does not finally determine the action within the meaning of the Constitution. Motion for leave to appeal dismissed upon the ground that the order sought to be appealed from does not finally determine the action within the meaning of the Constitution. Motion for a stay dismissed as academic.”