A woman President Donald Trump allegedly groped is now attempting to “harass” him through an invasive and inflammatory request for documents, defense attorneys said in a new legal filing.
The president’s team is pushing back against Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who’s suing Trump for defamation after he called her a liar when she went public with accusations that he groped and kissed her in 2007.
Zervos has sought information from the Trump Org. and the Trump campaign about 21 other women who have accused him of sexual harassment, saying she is entitled to “all documents concerning … any woman alleging Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately.”
In a new legal filing, the president’s defense attorney, Marc Kasowitz, said Zervos was only trying “to harass and distract President Trump from his official duties and turn the fact-finding process into a series of mini trials.”
“The fishing-expedition disclosure plaintiff seeks here has nothing to do with her defamation claim, and her motion should be denied,” Kasowitz added.
Zervos sued Trump in 2017 just before he took office, claiming he falsely called her a liar. The president repeatedly has sought to dismiss the lawsuit and has denied he sexually assaulted or harassed women, including Zervos, before he took office.
Zervos has argued evidence about other women would be “directly relevant” to her claim.
Information about these other women is material and necessary to rebut the defense that each of the defamatory statements was substantially true,” the plaintiff’s attorney, Mariann Wang, said in a court filing last month.
The president has agreed to provide, by the end of September, written responses or objections to a series of other questions posed to him by Zervos’ legal team, but said the request for information about other accusers must be denied.
“Plaintiff does not and cannot show that the disclosure she seeks is material and necessary to her claim that she was defamed,” Kasowitz wrote.
Trump has appealed the ruling of the trial court that allowed the Zervos case to proceed. His legal team has argued that a sitting president is immune, under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, from being sued in state court.
A state appeals court has set oral arguments in the case for Oct. 18.