NEW YORK (AP) — A former “Apprentice” contestant who sued President Donald Trump for defamation cannot force him to turn over evidence about other women who have accused him of making unwanted sexual advances, a judge ruled Friday.
The New York Times reported that Judge Jennifer Schechter said Trump must respond to questions directly related to Summer Zervos’ allegation that he inappropriately kissed and groped her twice in 2007.
But, the judge said, during a hearing in state court in Manhattan, that Zervos had not demonstrated that evidence related to other women’s claims had “any legitimate legal bearing” on Zervos’ lawsuit against Trump.
Zervos, a California restaurateur, appeared on Trump’s former reality show, “The Apprentice” in 2006. She says she met with Trump twice the next year seeking career advice, but he greeted her with unwelcome kissing, grabbing and grinding against her.
Trump denied Zervos’ allegations in a statement and retweeted a message calling them a “hoax.”
Zervos says his comments harmed her business and reputation and subjected her to threats. She is seeking a retraction, an apology and compensatory and punitive damages.
Zervos was one of more than a dozen women who accused Trump of unwanted advances during the Republican’s 2016 campaign for president.
Schechter said Friday that evidence about the other women’s claims was not necessary for Zervos to show that Trump knowingly made a false statement about her.
Zervos’ attorney, Mariann Wang, said that although the judge did not grant her motion in its entirety, Zervos believes she will be able to obtain sufficient evidence for her lawsuit to succeed. “We look forward to proving her claim,” Wang said in an email.
Trump’s lawyer, Paul Burgo, did not respond to an email seeking comment.