President Donald Trump 'not above the law', NY judge says

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An appellate court in NY 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.

"We reject defendant President Trump's argument that the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution prevents a New York State court - and every other state court in the country - from exercising its authority under its state constitution", the judges wrote.

Less than a month before the 2016 election, Zervos held a press conference in which she claimed that Trump made unwanted sexual advances toward her as she sought his professional advice.

A panel of NY 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.

The second allegedly occurred soon thereafter when Zervos went to meet Trump for dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where she said he kissed her "open-mouthed", "grabbed her shoulder, again kissing her very aggressively, and placed his hand on her breast".

A state Supreme Court Appellate Division panel issued its ruling Thursday in a case brought by Summer Zervos.

In addition, according to Bragg, other cases were stalled in anticipation of the Zervos decision, including one by the New York State Attorney General against the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

Trump's legal team argued that the U.S. Constitution immunizes him from state court lawsuits arising from his private conduct before he took office.

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Zervos' lawyers said Trump's words were factual falsehoods that subjected her to threats and cost her business at her Southern California restaurant.

Ironically, they cited the Supreme Court's ruling of Clinton v. Jones, which decided the president could be sued in office relating to unofficial acts that have nothing to do with his role as president.

That paved the way for Mr Clinton's impeachment the following year.

The Washington Post reported the decision Thursday, which will allow discovery to continue in the suit against the president.

All five justices found Ms Zervos's defamation claim legally sufficient, without ruling on its merits.

Mr Trump has also faced a defamation claim by adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit over a hush money agreement. In a June 2018 lawsuit, the Attorney General claimed the foundation was operated as a "shell corporation that functioned as a checkbook" for Mr. Trump, his campaign and businesses.

Summer Zervos, left, leaves NY state appellate court with here attorney Mariann Wang, Thursday in October previous year.

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