The defamation lawsuit that faded into the background while Donald Trump’s legal trouble with Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels took center stage is now back in the headlines. The New York Times writes:
Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who accused President Trump of sexual assault, is seeking records to prove that he defamed her by calling her a liar.
A lawyer for Ms. Zervos, who is suing Mr. Trump for defamation in New York, said on Wednesday that subpoenas had been issued both to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which owns archives of the reality show, and to the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Ms. Zervos says he groped her in 2007. […]
In the subpoena issued Wednesday, [Zervos’ attorney Mariann] Wang asked M.G.M. to turn over all documents, video or audio that feature Ms. Zervos or Mr. Trump talking about Ms. Zervos. The subpoena also seeks any recording in which Mr. Trump speaks of women “in any sexual or inappropriate manner.”
Absolutely, let’s get back to The Apprentice tapes! If you recall, these recordings and what they might reveal have been buried by M.G.M. as well as nondisclosure agreements that have kept people who worked on the shows from talking. Still, we have gotten glimpses of what the raw footage might yield. One former Apprentice producer Bill Pruitt, for instance, told the podcast Embedded last year that Trump would sometimes use “unfathomably despicable words” while the cameras were rolling, causing an “audible gasp” on set. In fact, when the Access Hollywood story broke in October 2016, Pruitt tweeted that “far worse” comments existed in the Apprentice footage.
Pruitt says he does not have the tapes and has signed a nondisclosure agreement, but he tells NPR that the comments he was referring to were racist in nature and included remarks about African-Americans and Jews. Pruitt says that Trump’s language was not a reflection of the culture of the crew and that at times, there would be an “audible gasp” from those who heard the comments.
Just guessing Trump had some choice things to say about the ladies too.
Zervos’ defamation lawsuit against Trump, originally filed early last year in New York, is now moving on a parallel track with the defamation suit Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti filed against Trump this week, also in New York. The attorneys for both women seek to depose Trump.
As for Trump’s contention he’s too busy, “we can certainly ensure that we take a deposition down at Mar-A-Lago in between his playing golf,” Zervos attorney Mariann Wang cracked during a December court appearance.
Trump adamantly denied ever sexually assaulting Zervos shortly after she first made the accusation in 2016.
“To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago,” he said. “That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I’ve conducted my life.”
That statement was never believable, but just think about it now in light of what we now know about the two hush-money payments made to Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
These lawsuits all seem to give more credence to one another as they concurrently work their way through court. There’s power in numbers.