Mere days before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, a former Celebrity Apprentice contestant is suing him for defamation, the Daily Beast reported.
Summer Zervos, who appeared in three episodes of Trump’s show back in 2006, said she was sexually assaulted by Trump in 2007 after approaching him for job opportunities. She first came forward with these allegations in October, after the release of the Access Hollywood tapes. But she’s not suing Trump for sexual assault.
“Ms. Zervos was ambushed by Mr. Trump on more than one occasion,” the lawsuit, which was filed by celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, states. “Mr. Trump suddenly, and without her consent, kissed her on the mouth repeatedly; he touched her breast; and he pressed his genitals up against her. Ms. Zervos never consented to any of this disgusting touching.”
After the Access Hollywood tapes went public, Zervos discovered something. “For the first time,” the lawsuit explains, Zervos “saw Mr. Trump’s behavior towards her for what it was: that of a sexual predator who had preyed on her and other women.”
Eleven other women came out along with Zervos, accusing Trump of sexual assault. He responded by promising to sue them after the election. “They’re trying to poison the mind of the American voter,” Trump said. “every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. … Total fabrication, the events never happened — never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”
Zevos is suing Trump for defamation — for calling her a liar in a statement he knew would be heard by millions, and would do irreparable harm to the women who accused him of sexual assault. He knew Zervos and the others would face “threats of violence, economic harm, and reputational damage,” the lawsuit claims. The woman’s claim, for emotional harm and economic damage, seeks an undisclosed amount of money in compensatory and punitive damages.
Responding to the suit, Trump’s presidential transition team spokeswoman Hope Hicks attacked it as “more of the same from Gloria Allred. There is no truth to this absurd story.”
While Trump denied Zervos’ claims of sexual assault, he told People Magazine in October that he “vaguely remembered” her, saying she had contacted him for help recently and asked to meet her at a restaurant.
As for her claims, he said, “That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I’ve conducted my life.” He also released a statement from a cousin of Zervos expressing shock at the allegations.
But Allred said Zervos had volunteered and passed a lie detector test.
Despite this lawsuit, the plaintiff said she would settle, not for money, but for a retraction. If Trump would “simply reject his false and defamatory statements about me and acknowledge I told the truth about him,” she would drop the lawsuit, Zervos said.