President Trump’s private attorney is seeking to stop a defamation lawsuit filed by a former contestant on “The Apprentice.” He is claiming that Trump should be immune to the lawsuit because of his presidential duties.
Former contestant Summer Zervos filed a lawsuit against Trump in New York on Jan. 17, just days before he was inaugurated. She alleged her reputation was damaged after Trump denied her sexual assault claims.
The Hill reports:
Zervos alleged that Trump attempted to kiss her two times in 2007 and then attacked her in a hotel room. Gloria Allred, Zervos’s lawyer, said Trump “knowingly, intentionally and maliciously” went after Zervos by calling the two “liars.”
Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s private attorney, argues that the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause should bar the president from state lawsuit since it could “distract a President from his public duties to the detriment of not only the President and his office but also the Nation,” said Kasowitz in his filing, citing the 1997 Clinton v. Jones Supreme Court ruling.
Kasowitz also argues that the Supreme Court did not decide in Bill Clinton v. Paula Jones whether a lawsuit, causing a delay in the president’s ability to perform his duties, could stand, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
During the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit, Clinton’s lawyers stated that litigation against the president should wait until he left office except in outstanding cases.
However, it was later ruled by the Supreme Court that a president is not immune to private litigation, though Justice John Paul Stevens declared that cases should be decided as early as possible to prevent it from conflicting with the president’s duties.
“[I]mmunity questions should be decided at the earliest possible stage of the litigation” because of the “singular importance of the President’s duties,” Stevens wrote.
Kasowitz reportedly plans to use Stevens’ court response in his attempt to stop Zervos’s lawsuit from moving forward.
“Moreover, as in Clinton v. Jones, the public interest mandates that the immunity issue be resolved before proceeding further.”
H/T: The Hill
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