Trump aims to countersue sex assault accuser who sued him

Oct 19, 2021, 3:44 AM | Updated: 10:03 pm
FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2017, file photo, Summer Zervos leaves Manhattan Supreme Court at the conclu...

FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2017, file photo, Summer Zervos leaves Manhattan Supreme Court at the conclusion of a hearing in New York. Former President Donald Trump wants to countersue Zervos, a former "Apprentice" contestant, who accused him of defaming her when he denied her sexual assault allegations. Trump lawyer Alina Habba asked a court’s permission Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, to pursue a counterclaim against Zervos. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump wants to countersue a former “Apprentice” contestant who accused him of defaming her when he denied her sexual assault allegations.

Saying that Trump is being harassed to keep him from speaking freely, his lawyer asked a court’s permission Monday to pursue a counterclaim against Summer Zervos.

The request comes as Zervos’ nearly five-year-old defamation suit is nearing an important phase. Both he and she are due to undergo questioning under oath by Dec. 23.

Zervos says Trump hurt her reputation by saying she lied in accusing him of unwelcome kissing and groping in 2007 — claims she aired publicly during his 2016 presidential campaign.

His denials included retweeting a message that called her claims “a hoax.” He also described a series of women who accused him of sexual assault and harassment as “liars” trying to torpedo his White House hopes.

Trump’s former lawyers responded years ago that he didn’t defame Zervos. They said his statements were true and protected by free speech rights.

Now he wants to bolster his defense by drawing on a 2020 New York law that makes it easier to defeat defamation claims involving public communication on issues of public interest.

The law was envisioned as helping journalists, activists and others beat back groundless claims from powerful interests that want to sue them into silence. Trump lawyer Alina Habba argues it applies to statements the future president “made at the highest levels of the national stage,” including during a debate.

Zervos sued “for the sole purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing or otherwise maliciously inhibiting” Trump and his free speech rights, Habba wrote in court papers filed Monday. They seek unspecified damages, plus attorneys’ fees.

Zervos’ lawyers, Beth Wilkinson and Moira Penza, said New York’s laws don’t “provide a license for Mr. Trump to avoid accountability for his words.”

“We look forward to taking Mr. Trump’s deposition and zealously fighting his unwarranted attacks against our client,” Wilkinson and Penza said in a statement. They called his filing “a desperate reaction” to the December deadline for depositions, a legal term for sworn pretrial questioning by the other side’s attorneys.

Monday’s filing came as Trump answered hours of questions in a deposition in a different lawsuit, filed by protesters who say his security team roughed them up in 2015. He said in a statement after the deposition that the protesters’ claim was “baseless harassment” and that he was glad to tell his side of that story.

Zervos, a California restaurateur, appeared on “The Apprentice” in 2006, when Trump hosted the show. She says she contacted him the next year to talk about her career. According to her, he then made unwanted advances during meetings at his New York office and at a California hotel where he was staying.

She’s seeking unspecified damages, a retraction of his allegedly defamatory statements and an apology.

The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted, unless they come forward publicly, as Zervos has.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

UN agency for Palestinian refugees faces funding crisis

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — The head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday it was unable to pay its 28,000 employees on time this month because of a major funding crisis, warning of potential cuts in vital services to millions of people amid a global pandemic. UNRWA runs schools, clinics and food distribution […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Man accused of using relief funds on Lamborghini gets prison

HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston man has been sentenced to more than nine years in prison after he was accused of using federal COVID-19 relief funding on a Lamborghini, a Rolex watch and trips to strip clubs, federal prosecutors said. Lee Price III, 30, was sentenced Monday to 110 months in prison. Price pleaded guilty […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Mercedes, Stellantis to work with US firm on new batteries

BERLIN (AP) — Automakers Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis announced agreements with U.S. company Factorial Energy on Tuesday to help develop solid-state battery technology that they hope could make electric cars more attractive to a mass market. Mercedes-Benz, part of Daimler AG, said it is joining forces with Factorial, based in Woburn, Massachussetts, to jointly develop batteries […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

EU set to unveil massive worldwide infrastructure plan

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union on Wednesday is set to unveil a multibillion-euro plan aimed at bolstering the 27-nation bloc’s worldwide infrastructure and influence. The program is expected to mobilize up to 300 billion euros ($341 billion) in public and private funds by 2027. Although the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, does not […]
1 day ago
FILE - This undated file image provided by Merck & Co. shows their new antiviral medication molnupi...
Associated Press

Final US hurdle for Merck’s COVID-19 pill: FDA panel review

WASHINGTON (AP) — An experimental COVID-19 drug that could soon become the first U.S.-authorized pill to treat the coronavirus faces one final hurdle Tuesday: A panel of government experts will scrutinize data on the medication from drugmaker Merck. The Food and Drug Administration is asking its outside experts whether the agency should authorize the pill, […]
1 day ago
FILE - An open house is posted in front of a home for sale in Westfield, Ind., Sept. 25, 2020. Sale...
Associated Press

US home prices register 19.1% annual gain in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose briskly in September, another sign that the housing market is booming in the aftermath of last year’s coronavirus recession. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price climbed 19.1% in September from a year earlier. The strong price gains marked a deceleration from August’s 19.6% year-over-year increase. Still, September […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Trump aims to countersue sex assault accuser who sued him