President Trump Must Face Accusations of 'Apprentice' Contestant

President Trump speaks with the media

A NY judge on Tuesday denied an attempt by lawyers for President Donald Trump to dismiss a defamation case against a former "Apprentice" contestant who claims Trump groped her a decade ago.

The decision by Justice Jennifer Schecter of the NY state court in Manhattan in favour of California restaurateur Summer Zervos, a former contestant on NBC's The Apprentice, raises the prospect that Mr Trump might have to answer embarrassing questions in court about his behaviour towards women. Trump argued the U.S. Constitution's supremacy clause protects presidents from civil litigation in state courts.

One maxim of constitutional law is that what's good for the goose is good for the gander. "It is settled that the President of the United States has no immunity and is "subject to the laws" for purely private acts". The judge cites Paula Jones' case against Bill Clinton as precedent.

It left open the question of whether concerns of federalism and comity compel a different conclusion for suits brought in state court.

Zervos was a contestant on "The Apprentice" in 2005 and, after she was dispatched from the show with Trump's signature "You're Fired" line, continued to seek out Trump for advice and job opportunities, court papers state.

Zervos alleges Trump kissed her twice on the lips during a 2007 meeting at his office, and kissed and groped her the next time she saw him at a Beverly Hills, California, hotel, where she had gone to join him for dinner.

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Trump has publicly said he wants to speak with Mueller's team, but his lawyers have not committed to that and are continuing to negotiate about an interview.

Trump was elected president in the weeks after most of the misconduct or assault allegations were made public.

Earlier this week, a law firm representing Mr Trump and the corporation that paid Ms Daniels said in a court filing it was seeking at least $US20 million in damages for multiple violations of the non-disclosure agreement.

Marc Kasowitz of Kasowitz Benson Torres, who is representing Trump in the case, said in December at oral arguments for the motion to dismiss that Trump's statements on the issue amounted to overheated campaign rhetoric-and thus can not be construed as defamatory-and that none of the statements explicitly named Zervos. No dice, said Schecter.

"Thomas Jefferson made clear that the president's responsibilities are 24/7, every single day no matter what he or she is doing", Kasowitz said during oral arguments in December, according to the New York Post.

Summer Zervos speaks to the press with her attorney Gloria Allred on October 14, 2016, in Los Angeles.

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