A Manhattan Supreme Court judge Tuesday said “no one is above the law” as she rejected a request by President Trump to dismiss a lawsuit by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, one of the many women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct, ruling that his job title does not grant him immunity and he must face his accuser in court.
Manhattan Court Justice Jennifer Schecter’s decision rejected Trump’s argument that a sitting president cannot be subject to a state court’s jurisdiction.
“In Clinton v Jones the United States Supreme Court held that a sitting president is not immune from being sued in federal court for unofficial acts,” Justice Jennifer Schecter wrote in a ruling released Tuesday, according to the New York Post.
“It left open the question of whether concerns of federalism and comity compel a different conclusion for suits brought in state court. Because they do not, defendant’s motion to dismiss this case or hold it in abeyance is denied,” Justice Schecter ruled.
“Nothing in the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution even suggests that the president cannot be called to account before a state court for wrongful conduct that bears no relationship to any federal executive responsibility,” she added.
“Significantly, when unofficial conduct is at issue, there is no risk that a state will improperly encroach on powers given to the federal government by interfering with the manner in which the President performs federal functions,” Justice Schecter wrote.
She added, “It is settled that the President of the United States has no immunity and is ‘subject to the laws’ for purely private acts.”
“No one is above the law.”
Schechter also denied a request that she suspend Zervos’s lawsuit until after Trump leaves office.
Zervos’s lawyer, Mariann Wang, in an emailed statement said, “The rule of law and sound reason have prevailed today.”
“We are grateful for the opportunity to prove that that Defendant falsely branded Ms. Zervos a phony for telling the truth about his unwanted sexual groping.”
Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s lawyer, in his own emailed statement, said, “We disagree with this decision, which is wrong as a matter of Constitutional law. We intend to immediately appeal and will seek a stay of the case until this issue is finally determined.”
Zervos held a press conference in 2016 in which she described a 2007 incident in which she says Trump groped and kissed her during a meeting about a job opportunity.
Trump denied the claims at the time.