The Apprentice season five contestant Summer Zervos has sued president-elect Donald Trump for defamation for denying that he sexually assaulted her. The lawsuit asks for a retraction, plus compensatory and punitive damages.
It says Trump’s denial of her story “debased and denigrated Ms. Zervos with false statements about her,” and that Trump’s “statements are plainly defamatory and caused serious harm,” including “threats of violence, economic harm, and reputational damage.”
During the campaign, Trump said at a rally, “The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”
Read the full lawsuit here. During a press conference Tuesday, Summer said that she will withdraw the lawsuit “immediately, for no monetary compensation, if he would simply retract his false and defamatory statements about me, and acknowledge that I told the truth about him.”
Donald Trump’s spokesperson, Hope Hicks, referred to Summer’s lawyer in her response to the lawsuit: “More of the same from Gloria Allred. There is no truth to this absurd story.”
Allred said at a news conference that Summer passed a polygraph test, and that Allred “she would seek to depose Trump under oath and could also seek to subpoena recordings Trump made during tapings of The Apprentice,” The Washington Post reported.
Here is the full video of the press conference, which a news station streamed live on Facebook, hence the emojis.
An Apprentice candidate’s lawsuit claims
Summer’s lawsuit starts with a reference to the tape on which Trump was heard bragging about sexually assaulting women:
“Summer Zervos is one of many women who has been subjected to unwanted sexual touching by Donald J. Trump. By his own account, Mr. Trump engaged in such assaultive behaviour regularly, and with impunity.”
After the tape became public, the lawsuit says,
“For the first time, Summer 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. She realized that she was just one of many women who had been victimized by Mr. Trump’s predatory conduct. Ms. Zervos could no longer rationalize or excuse Mr. Trump’s behavior by telling herself that his behavior had been a mistake or an isolated incident for which he might even be ashamed.”
As to that behavior, the lawsuit specifically claims that Summer:
“was ambushed by Mr. Trump on more than one occasion. Mr. Trump suddenly, and without her consent, kissed her on her mouth repeatedly; he touched her breast; and he pressed his genitals up against her. Ms. Zervos never consented to any of this disgusting touching. Instead, she repeatedly expressed that he should stop his inappropriate sexual behavior, including by shoving him away from her forcefully, and telling him to ‘get real.’ Mr. Trump did not care, he kept touching her anyway.”
During the presidential campaign, Summer told her story of being assaulted by Trump, and later her cousin spoke to the media and tried to discredit her story. The lawsuit addresses this, and says that her “first cousin, a Trump supporter, had been fired from Ms. Zervos’s family’s restaurant because he was unreliable, and was apparently disgruntled as a result. In a text, that cousin had referred to himself as a ‘loser.'”
Summer was the first person fired from her season of The Apprentice.