US President Donald Trump faced legal challenges from women on two fronts on Tuesday as a defamation lawsuit brought by a former Apprentice TV show contestant moved forward and a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump sued to undo a confidentiality agreement.
"Nothing in the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution even suggests that the President can not be called to account before a state court for wrongful conduct that bears no relationship to any federal executive responsibility", she wrote.
"Nothing in the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution even suggests that the president can not be called to account before a state court for wrongful conduct that bears no relationship to any federal executive responsibility", writes Schecter. As such, the decision could be reviewed by a NY appeals court before being tackled by the 2nd Circuit and eventually perhaps the Supreme Court. Trump denied the allegations and called Zervos a liar.
Zervos first made public her claims against Trump at an October 2016 news conference, as one of a parade of women who accused him of misconduct after the release of an "Access Hollywood" recording capturing the future president boasting in graphic language about groping women.
Lawyers for Trump had asked that the lawsuit be dismissed, arguing, in part, that he is too busy running the country to be subject to a civil lawsuit like this.
"His statements can be proven true or false, as they pertain to whether [Zervos] made up allegations to pursue her own agenda", the judge said.
The ruling exposes Trump to potentially embarrassing court proceedings that could drag on for months, if not years.
Marc Kasowitz of Kasowitz Benson Torres, who is representing Trump in the case, said in December at oral arguments for the motion to dismiss that Trump's statements on the issue amounted to overheated campaign rhetoric-and thus can not be construed as defamatory-and that none of the statements explicitly named Zervos.
"We are grateful for the opportunity to prove that the Defendant falsely branded Ms Zervos a phony for telling the truth about his unwanted sexual groping".
Now, Karen McDougal and Summer Zervos.
"No one is above the law", Justice Jennifer Schechter wrote.
"This case seems to be turning on the very question that the Supreme Court left open in Clinton versus Jones, which is whether their same decision would apply in a state court case", Mezey said. But Schecter said rulings that a president must respond to a federal suit also applied to state ones.
Porn star Stormy Daniels is among the many women who have claimed to have sexual relations with Trump.
"The issue of whether a president can have rights and liabilities adjudicated in state court is likely to reach the highest court in NY, in Albany", she said. Attorneys for Trump pushed back on multiple fronts, arguing that the suit was "politically motivated" and was built around "allegations of events that never occurred".