Donald Trump’s lawyers have argued that he should not be sued for alleged sexual misconduct – because he is the President. Trump faces a defamation lawsuit brought by former ‘Apprentice’ contestant Summer Zervos who accuses him of groping her at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007.
Twenty years ago, the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously that President Bill Clinton was not immune from a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Paula Jones. Clinton’s attorneys argued that the separation-of-powers doctrine under the US Constitution meant that he could not be sued while he was in office for conduct predating his presidency.
The court unanimously rejected that claim. Trump’s lawyers argue that the Jones precedent does not apply to Trump because the Jones case was filed in federal court while Zervos brought her claim in state court in New York.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents Zervos, contends Trump is indeed subject to litigation for his conduct prior to assuming office.
She said: “The United States Supreme Court addressed this legal immunity issue in Clinton v. Jones and determined unanimously that no man is above the law and that includes the President of the United States.
“We look forward to arguing this issue in court.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, in their motion, Trump’s lawyers state that they will argue that Trump is immune from the lawsuit under the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution, which provides that federal law supersedes state law.
Attorney Marc E. Kasowitz wrote: “As the US Supreme Court has repeatedly recognised, courts should show great deference to the President and his duties.”
Kasowitz said that Trump will seek to dismiss the lawsuit or put it on hold for the duration of his presidency.
He also argued that all other issues in the case should be put on hold until the immunity question is resolved “and all appeals exhausted.”