Can the US president be sued for defamation? A New York judge began hearing arguments on the issue on Wednesday and must decide whether Summer Zervos, who accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment, can pursue the case in civil court. Mr Trump is asking for the case to be dismissed. Zervos was a candidate on the TV reality show The Apprentice, which Mr Trump hosted from 2004 to 2015.
During his campaign for President last October, Zervos alleged that Mr Trump had made unwanted sexual advances toward her when she met him at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles in 2007 to discuss career opportunities.
She alleged that Mr Trump moved toward her aggressively during the encounter and touched her on the breast but she rebuffed him. Zervos filed suit in January, three days before Mr Trump’s inauguration.
On Wednesday, Judge Jennifer Schecter heard arguments from Marc Kasowitz, one of the lawyers for the billionaire president, who is seeking dismissal of the case. Kasowitz invoked a clause of the United States constitution, saying the states “can’t exercise any control over the President.” He argued that the person cannot be separated from the function of President, and this prevents him from being present at judicial hearings and an eventual trial.