The Slatest

Former Apprentice Contestant Abruptly Drops Defamation Suit Against Trump

Summer Zervos looks on after leaving the New York County Criminal Court on December 5, 2017, in New York. Zervos is accusing former presidential candidate Donald Trump of sexually harassing her during her stint on "The Apprentice" in 2007.   / AFP PHOTO / KENA BETANCUR        (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)
Summer Zervos looks on after leaving the New York County Criminal Court on December 5, 2017, in New York. KENA BETANCUR/Getty Images

Former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos has dropped her long-running defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump in an abrupt move that came as a surprise considering it looked like the former president would soon have to sit for a deposition in the case. Zervos sued Trump in 2017 after he denied claims he had sexually assaulted her. The former reality show contestant said Trump had smeared her name by calling her a liar during the 2016 presidential campaign after she accused him of kissing and groping her. She claimed the unwanted sexual advances came when she had gone to him in 2007 for career advice after she was no longer a contestant on Trump’s reality show.

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Zervos didn’t give much of an explanation for her actions. “After five years, Ms. Zervos no longer wishes to litigate against the defendant and has secured the right to speak freely about her experience. Ms. Zervos stands by the allegations in her complaint and has accepted no compensation,” her lawyers, Beth Wilkinson and Moira Penza, said. The attorneys for Zervos and Trump filed a document with the New York State Supreme Court detailing that “all claims and counterclaims asserted in this matter, or that could have been asserted, are hereby dismissed and discontinued in their entirety.” The claims were dropped “with prejudice,” so they can’t be refiled later and each side will pay its own costs.

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The lawsuit was dropped a month after a lawyer for Trump asked a judge to include a counterclaim in the suit against Zervos, claiming she was “harassing, intimidating, punishing or otherwise maliciously inhibiting” the former president’s free speech rights. Trump had repeatedly denied Zervos’ allegations and issued a statement through his political action committee celebrating that the lawsuit had come to an end. “President Trump has been totally vindicated,” the statement said. “No money of any kind, or legal fees, were paid by President Trump, who stated, ‘It is so sad when things like this can happen, but so incredibly important to fight for the truth and justice. Only victory can restore one’s reputation!’”

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This was not the only piece of legal good news for Trump on Friday as a judge also granted the former president’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit against the Trump Organization by his former personal attorney Michael Cohen. The judge said the Trump Organization didn’t need to pay millions in legal bills to Cohen, who had sued the company because it failed to fulfill its promise to pay legal fees associated with his work there. “In a nutshell, Mr Cohen’s legal fees arise out of his (sometimes unlawful) service to Mr Trump personally, to Mr Trump’s campaign, and to the Trump Foundation, but not out of his service to the business of the Trump Organization,” the judge said. Lanny Davis, Cohen’s attorney, characterized the decision as “unfair” and tweeted out a crowdfunding page for people to contribute.

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