At a press conference with her famous attorney Gloria Allred, season-five Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos announced today that she is suing President-elect Donald Trump for defamation. Zervos was one of many women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct in the lead-up to the election last fall. In reaction to that, Trump claimed that his accusers were liars, released a specific statement about Zervos, and threatened to sue the women after the election. In a strategy similar to the one used by the women who sued Bill Cosby for defamation because their accusations of sexual assault were beyond the statute of limitations, Zervos’s new complaint targets Trump’s later comments and claims that he “used his national and international bully pulpit to make false factual statements to denigrate and verbally attack Ms. Zervos and the other women.”
“Mr. Trump knew that his false, disparaging statements would be heard and read by people around the world,” the complaint continues, “and that these women, including Summer Zervos, would be subjected to threats of violence, economic harm, and reputational damage. In his effort to win the Presidency and counter the damage to his election prospects caused by his own recorded words with Billy Bush, Mr. Trump knowingly, intentionally and maliciously threw each and every one of these women under the bus, with conscious disregard of the impact that repeatedly calling them liars would have upon their lives and reputations.” Zervos is seeking damages as well as an order that Trump retract his statements and apologize.
Update: Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks has responded to Zervos’s suit with the statement, “More of the same from Gloria Allred. There is no truth to this absurd story.”