Merits of the case aside, Thursday wasn’t the best day for the Trump team in the Summer Zervos defamation lawsuit. The New York State Court of Appeals, the highest court in that state, denied their motion to stay the case.
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) May 17, 2018
This ruling comes follows the Trump Team’s appeal of a March 20 ruling by the presiding judge in the case. The New York Supreme Court’s Judge Jennifer G. Schecter did not mince words with them.
“No one is above the law,” she wrote at the time. Schecter pointed at U.S. Supreme Court case Clinton v. Jones to support her decision. She said, “It is settled that the president of the United States has no immunity and is ‘subject to the laws’ for purely private acts.”
Trump’s legal team, led by Marc E. Kasowitz, wouldn’t let this decision slide, and turned to the New York Court of Appeals to put the case on hold. They argued that the lawsuit would interfere with the president’s ability to run the country. The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibited state courts from exercising jurisdiction over a sitting president.
The New York Court of Appeals, clearly, didn’t buy this argument, stating simply and without explanation, “It is ordered that the motion is denied.”
Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, is suing Trump for defamation after he denied forcibly kissing and groping her in a hotel room in 2007. Trump had claimed that Zervos’ allegations were lies. As for the merits of the case, Trump’s team said his statements were non-defamatory opinions made during a political campaign, and therefore protected by the First Amendment.
[Image via David McNew/Getty Images]