President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, stood in state Supreme Court on Tuesday, arguing that Justice Jennifer Schecter didn't have the authority to push forward a defamation suit brought against the president by sexual harassment accuser Summer Zervos.
U.S. President Donald Trump's lawyers told a NY state judge on Tuesday that under the U.S. Constitution she had no jurisdiction over the president and therefore urged her to dismiss a defamation lawsuit by a woman who has accused Trump of sexual harassment. He also argued that Trump's statements are protected by the First Amendment because they were delivered in a political context.
From Thomas Jefferson to Jerry Seinfeld, Donald Trump's attorney on Tuesday invoked the giants of American jurisprudence in an effort to save the sitting US president from having to appear in state court to face a defamation complaint.
Zervos was one of several of women who accused Trump last year of sexual misconduct last year following the release of a 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump is heard making lewd comments about women.
Wang further argued that no court has ever held that the president is immune to state lawsuits, pointing to a federal law that provides for the possibility by detailing how the president could seek to move a state lawsuit to federal court.
She thinks a NY state court is the flawless venue to hear a defamation claim against a "born and bred New Yorker", and stressed the overall holding in Clinton v. Jones as establishing that presidents can't claim immunity.
"I don't believe that ... will occur", Wang said.
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Wang retorted that her client simply "detailed report of her interaction with at the time Donald Trump and it sticks to the facts and it describes him thrusting his genitals at her and grabbing her breasts".
The judge said she'd issue a ruling at a later date.
Zervos said at a press conference in October 2016 that after appearing on Trump's show she asked him for a job.
Zervos has accused Trump of groping her during meetings in 2007.
Zervos filed a lawsuit in January. It would nearly certainly link Trump's name more permanently to the scores of powerful men recently accused of sexual misconduct. Zervos' legal team also includes Gloria Allred and Nathan Goldberg of Allred, Maroko & Goldberg and Cuti Hecker partner Eric Hecker. (The threshold for federal court is $75,000, and in opposition arguments, Zervos' attorney said they'd meet that minimum when compensatory damages are factored.) The reason for allowing a federal court to handle the case, continued Kasowitz, is that the federal judiciary is a "co-equal branch", with Article III power to actually make rulings upon the country's chief executive.
Outside court, Allred said she was confident the case would go forward. It's fake, it's made-up stuff. "That happens in the world of politics".