LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14: Summer Zervos, a former candidate on “The Apprentice” season five, who is accusing Donald Trump of inappropriate sexual conduct, speaks to the press with her attorney Gloria Allred October 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

(Photo credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

'Apprentice' Contestant's Trump Defamation Suit Can Proceed

March 14, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York appeals court has ruled that President Donald Trump isn't immune from a defamation lawsuit filed by a former "Apprentice" contestant who accused him of unwanted kissing and groping.

A state Supreme Court Appellate Division panel issued its ruling Thursday in a case brought by Summer Zervos.

The decision lets Zervos' suit proceed and increases the prospect that Trump could have to sit for sworn questioning.

Related: Trump-Tape-Hunting Tom Arnold, 'Apprentice' Producer Scuffle

Zervos was among over a dozen women who emerged during Trump's 2016 campaign with allegations of sexual misconduct years earlier. He called the women liars.

Trump's lawyers have said the case shouldn't go forward while he's in office. They also say his comments were opinions and protected free speech. They say they plan to issue a response Thursday afternoon.

Zervos' lawyers say Trump's words were factual falsehoods that subjected her to threats.