Woman sues Trump in New York for defamation over sexual assault denial

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By Alex Dobuzinskis and Dana Feldman | LOS ANGELES

LOS ANGELES One of about a dozen women who
previously accused President-elect Donald Trump of making
unwanted sexual advances filed a lawsuit against him in New York
on Tuesday, alleging he had made false and defamatory statements
about her in rejecting the accusation, causing her emotional and
economic harm.

The lawsuit filed by Summer Zervos, a one-time contestant on
Trump’s reality television show “The Apprentice,” is focused on
a stream of denials Trump aimed at her and other women accusers
last October, just weeks before the Nov. 8 presidential
election, when Zervos and others came forward to accuse the
then-candidate of making unwanted sexual advances.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks called the allegations “absurd.”

“More of the same from Gloria Allred,” said Hicks, referring
to Zervos’ high-profile attorney. “There is no truth to this
absurd story.”

At the time the women made their allegations, Trump, a
Republican, who went on to win the election and who takes office
on Friday, adamantly denied all the accusations in posts on
Twitter, statements, interviews and comments at rallies. He
suggested at one rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Oct. 14
that the accusers were fabricating their stories for publicity
or to damage his campaign.

With regard to Zervos specifically, Trump told the rally in
Charlotte just hours after she made her allegations that it was “not hard to find a small handful of people willing to make
false smears for personal fame, who knows maybe for financial
reasons, political purposes,” according to the lawsuit.

“Mr. Trump’s false, defamatory statements about Ms. Zervos –
that, among other things, she made up her descriptions of Mr.
Trump’s misconduct as a hoax, and that she is creating a ‘phony’
story just so that she can be famous – have been deeply
detrimental to Ms. Zervos’s reputation, honor and dignity,” the
lawsuit stated.

At a news conference in Los Angeles announcing the lawsuit
on Tuesday, Zervos said she wanted Trump to apologize.

“Since Mr. Trump has not issued a retraction as I requested,
he has therefore left me with no alternative other than to sue
him in order to vindicate my reputation,” Zervos said.

Her lawsuit said she was seeking “all possible remedies,”
including the apology and retraction, from Trump.

Allred, who also represents a number of women who have
accused comedian Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct, raised the
possibility at the news conference that Trump might be required
to give a deposition in the case.

The lawsuit said Trump kissed Zervos without her consent at
his office in New York in December 2007 and later at a hotel in
Beverly Hills, California, kissed her, touched her breast and
tried to get her to lie on a bed during a meeting about a
possible job.

She and the other women came forward after a video from 2005
surfaced showing Trump boasting of making unwanted advances
toward women including grabbing women by the genitals – a video
that he later apologized for but said was simply “locker room
talk” and was not his actual behavior.

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