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Summer Zervos, One of Trump’s Sexual Abuse Accusers, Is Suing Him for Defamation

Famed women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred held a press conference today, announcing that her client Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, is suing Donald Trump for defamation. Zervos is one of many women who have come forward with their own accounts of being sexually harassed and/or abused by Trump.

In the suit (which you can read in full here), Zervos describes being kissed on the mouth upon meeting Trump for the first time—which other women have also described him doing—as well as being more aggressively assaulted during a job interview later.

Ms. Zervos 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.

But it’s not the abuse Zervos is suing over. Instead, she’s suing for defamation after she came public last year and Trump called her, and the other women coming forward around the election, liars.

Mr. Trump immediately lied, saying that he “never met [Ms. Zervos] at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately.” He quickly went further, describing Ms. Zervos’s experience, along with those of others, as “made up events THAT NEVER HAPPENED;” “100% fabricated and made-up charges;” “totally false;” “totally phoney [sic] stories, 100% made up by women (many already proven false);” “made up stories and lies;” “[t]otally made up nonsense.” He falsely stated: “Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign, total fabrication. The events never happened.” During the last presidential debate, he stated that these women were either being put forward by the Clinton campaign, or were motivated to come forward by getting “ten minutes of fame,” and nothing more.

Zervos, who is on the record of having passed a polygraph test in regard to her account of these events, says she didn’t come forward before because she thought his behavior “was either a test or an isolated incident, about which Mr. Trump was embarrassed and ashamed.”

But when those Access Hollywood tapes leaked, in which Trump described  his fame-enabled ability to “just start kissing [women]. . . Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything,” she says she realized that her experience with her wasn’t unusual, it was “his normal behavior towards women, and that Mr. Trump believed that he was entitled to engage in that misconduct because of his position.”

Zervos says she simply wants Trump to admit that she didn’t fabricate her story. During the press conference, she stated,

Since Mr Trump has not issued a retraction, as I requested, he has therefore left me with no alternative other than to sue him in order to vindicate my reputation. I want Mr. Trump to know that I will still be willing to dismiss my case against him, immediately, for no monetary compensation, if he would simply retract his false and defamatory statements about me and admit that I told the truth about him.

Allred compared Trump’s situation to that of Bill Clinton’s, reminding the press that sitting (or almost sitting) presidents can be deposed, and impeached. No matter what sort of Twitter rant Trump inevitably responds with, she hopes Zervos’ suit is taken seriously by the rest of us. Because, as she herself put it,

Women are not a footnote to history. They matter, we value them … and we value women that allege that they have been the victims of injustice.

 

(via LawNewz, image via screengrab)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.