Donald Trump is claiming that, as president, he cannot be privately sued. Trump is facing a defamation lawsuit after his October denouncement Summer Zervos’s accusations that he sexually assaulted her.
Trump accused Zervos of lying and fabrication her accusations, calling them “100% fabricated and made-up charges,” “totally false,” and “totally made up nonsense.” Zervos says that Trump sexually assaulted her in 2007, soon after she competed on his TV show “The Apprentice.”
Zervos is represented by the renowned lawyer Gloria Allred, who alleges in the lawsuit that Trump’s claims that Zervos fabricated her accusations are “detrimental to Ms. Zervos’s reputation, honor and dignity” and thus constitute defamation of character.
Trump’s lawyers tried in court this week to claim that the Constitution protects Trump from lawsuits. The argument is outrageous, a last-ditch attempt to save Trump from a suit he stands to lose.
Allred gave a statement today saying, “[Trump] does not enjoy legal immunity from our defamation lawsuit. The United States Supreme Court address this legal immunity issue in Clinton v. Jones and determined unanimously that no man is above the law and that includes the president of United States. We look forward to arguing this issue in court.
Presidents have tried to avoid lawsuits in the past, and precedent is not on Trump’s side. As Allred mentioned, the Supreme Court ruled in 1997 President Bill Clinton was not immune from civil suits while in office. He was also being sued for sexual harassment.
Before the Clinton precedent, which has been seen as a landmark case establishing that president is not above the law, John F. Kennedy was also told by courts in 1962 that he was not immune from a lawsuit over his involvement in a traffic accident.
Trump, it seems, is not above the law no matter how much he thinks he ought to be. Trump has spent his life skirting on the edges of legality and it is finally catching up with him. It is a hard lesson for men like him to discover that wealth and political power does not give you special legal privileges under the American Constitution.
See you in court, Trump.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.