Donald Trump might have to testify under oath in a defamation lawsuit against him, after a New York state appellate court gave the suit a go-ahead on Thursday. The suit was filed by one of several women accusing him of sexual misconduct.
Trump “called the women ‘liars’ trying to harm his  campaign with ‘100 percent fabricated’ stories,” says the Associates Press, “and he retweeted a message specifically calling Zervos’ claim ‘a hoax.’”
The legal team for Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” when Trump was its host, said Thursday’s ruling affirms that Trump “is not above the law,” reports the New York Times.
The 3-2 court decision “increases the prospect that Trump could have to sit for sworn testimony in the lawsuit,” according to the AP.
Zervos filed the suit in 2017, after Trump called her and the other women accusing him “liars.” She claims Trump “forcibly kissed and groped her” in 2007 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.
Trump denies the allegation, and the Huffington Post quotes his lawyer as saying he’ll appeal the ruling to New York’s highest court.
Zervos is seeking a retraction, an apology, and compensatory and punitive damages.
“Trump’s lawyers have tried unsuccessfully to block Zervos’s suit, arguing that the president is immune from such lawsuits in state court,” the Times says.
In its ruling, the New York appellate panel cited the 1997 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Clinton v. Jones, which established that presidents can be sued while in office for unofficial acts.
“We look forward to proving to a jury that Ms. Zervos told the truth about [Trump’s] unwanted sexual groping and holding him accountable for his malicious lies,” Mariann Wang, Zervos’s attorney, said in a statement.