MANHATTAN (CN) – After a New York judge found that immunity does not shield President Donald Trump against a former “Apprentice” contestant’s defamation suit, Trump took his appeal up the courtroom ladder on Sunday.
Accompanying a notice of appeal with a brief pre-argument statement, Trump’s defense attorney Marc Kasowitz promised to reject “each and every part” of the March 20 decision that opens the discovery stage of the case between Trump and Summer Zervos.
“No one is above the law,” Judge Jennifer Schecter had said in the order.
“It is settled that the president of the United States has no immunity and is ‘subject to the laws’ for purely private acts,” Schechter added.
Kasowtiz argues otherwise, however, insisting that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the president’s Article II responsibilities protect him from prosecution.
If the case cannot be dismissed, Kasowitz said it could also be put on hold until Trump leaves office since the delay would pose little prejudice for Zervos.
Back in October 2016 when Zervos accused Trump of touching and kissing her without consent, Trump had still been on the campaign trail. She filed suit the following January then, saying Trump defamed her by denying that the events she described ever took place.
A former contestant on Season 5 of Trump’s former reality show “The Apprentice,” Zervos claimed that the real estate mogul assaulted her twice: first by kissing her at his New York office, and then trying again in 2007 at a Beverly Hills hotel.
Zervos said there Trump had kissed her “aggressively,” fondled one of her breasts and thrust his genitals at her.
Though the damages Zervos seeks are nominal — $2,914 and an “apology” — advancement of the case puts Trump in the thorny position of having to give sworn testimony.
Indeed the 1997 Supreme Court precedent on which Judge Schecter based her decision led to the deposition of then-President Bill Clinton in a sexual-harassment suit by Paula Jones. Clinton’s perjury in that case ultimately paved the way to his impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Kasowitz has argued in previous filings for Trump meanwhile that courts must show deference to the sitting president and his schedule.
His appeal this weekend came shortly after celebrity attorney Gloria Allred withdrew as counsel for Zervos.
“Our withdrawal has nothing to do with the merits of her case against President Trump,” Allred told the Washington Post.
Zervos took responsibility for the move. “I decided to part ways with Gloria Allred purely for personal reasons having nothing to do with her work as my attorney,” she said in a statement Friday.
Mariann Meier Wang in New York will continue to represent Zervos.