Trump's legal team is arguing that the case should not move forward while he is in office and that his comments are speech protected by the first amendment.
An appellate court in New York ruled Thursday that a lawsuit by a former “Apprentice” contestant who accused President Trump of unwanted kisses and groping can proceed – shutting down claims by his lawyers that Trump is immune from defamation lawsuits while in office and raising the specter that he will have to sit for sworn questioning.
A panel of New York appellate judges issued its ruling Thursday in a case brought by Summer Zervos in which Trump accused her – and numerous other women – of being liars for alleging that he sexually harassed them. Zervos sued for defamation.
"Despite the suggestion in his brief that he is the “embodi[ment of] the Executive Branch and though he is tasked with significant responsibilities, the President is still a person, and he is not above the law,” the appeals court panel wrote. The judges cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Clinton v. Jones, which ruled that presidents can still be sued while in office for unofficial acts.
Trump’s legal team can seek to have the appellate court’s ruling reviewed by the New York State Supreme Court in Albany.