New York’s highest court ruled Thursday that a defamation lawsuit brought against President Trump by a former "Apprentice" contestant may continue, raising the specter of the president being deposed in the case.
Summer Zervos, a former contestant on the president’s reality TV show, sued Trump days before his inauguration last year. She accused him of groping her and then defaming her during the 2016 presidential election.
Trump and his attorneys have long denied the allegations.
New York’s top court, the Court of Appeals, rejected an effort by Trump’s legal team to block discovery in the case while Trump is president. The decision allows information gathering to continue, and moves the case closer to a point where Trump could be deposed.
“This is now the third time the courts have rejected [the] defendant’s effort to block the progress of this case,” said Mariann Wang, an attorney for Zervos. “We look forward to continuing the discovery process and exposing the truth.”
A spokesperson for Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz said the decision Thursday was on “purely procedural grounds” and noted a lower court is considering a separate effort by the president’s personal attorneys to dismiss the lawsuit.
Trump’s lawyers are arguing state courts do not have jurisdiction to depose a sitting president.