Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” a business reality show that Donald Trump successfully hosted before running for president, is dropping a defamation lawsuit she filed against him in 2017.
Zervos filed her action in New York state court during Trump’s first year in office, claiming that he hurt her reputation after he said that sexual assault and harassment allegations she and other women made against him were fabricated, The Associated Press reported Friday.
The court filing on Friday noted that the case has been dismissed and discontinued with prejudice, which means that she cannot file a similar action in state court moving forward. In addition, the filing noted that each party is responsible for paying their own court costs.
Beth Wilkinson and Moira Penza, both of whom are attorneys for Zervos, noted in a statement that “after five years, Ms. Zervos no longer wishes to litigate against the defendant and has secured the right to speak freely about her experience.”
“Zervos stands by the allegations in her complaint and has accepted no compensation,” they added.
Meanwhile, Alina Habba, Trump’s attorney, said it was “prudent” for Zervos to have dropped her case.
“She had no choice but to do so as the facts unearthed in this matter made it abundantly clear that our client did nothing wrong,” she said in a statement.
In remarks of his own, the former president added: “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!”
Zervos initially came forward during Trump’s 2016 campaign to accuse the future president of touching her breasts and kissing her without her consent as he shoved his genitals up against her. Trump immediately denied the allegations and called them “lies,” which prompted her defamation suit.
In October 2016, shortly after Zervos made her allegations, a cousin, John Barry, stated publicly that the charges “bewildered” him.
“I am completely shocked and bewildered by my cousin, Summer Zervos, and her press conference today,” he said in the statement. “Ever since she was on The Apprentice she has had nothing but glowing things to say about Mr. Trump.
“For almost a decade, my cousin would talk about how much she looked up to Mr. Trump and viewed him as an inspiration – a success story she wanted to copy,” he continued.
In October 2017, attorneys for Zervos subpoenaed documents from Trump’s campaign as part of her defamation suit to include statements or allegations from any women that Trump “touched her inappropriately.”
“All documents that concern any women who asserted that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately, including any basis for Donald J. Trump’s statements that any such woman or women fabricated, created or lied about her/their interactions with him, or were motivated to come forward by fame, or ‘ten minutes of fame,’ money or politics or pressure from the Clinton campaign,” the request said.
Trump’s lawyers countered that the suit was politically motivated and the document request was “too broad.”
In October of this year, Habba had filed documents with a court in New York for permission to file a counterclaim against Zervos, the AP noted. The two parties had agreed to finish depositions by Dec. 23.
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