After Donald Trump was caught admitting on tape last fall that he enjoys committing sexual assault against women and using his celebrity status to get away with it, more than dozen women came forward to accuse him of having done precisely that – but none of them took legal action. That’s finally about to change. One of Trump’s alleged victims, former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos, is holding a press conference today in Los Angeles, along with her attorney Gloria Allred, to announce that she’s suing him.
We watched the press conference live online. Zervos is actually suing for defamation, not sexual assault, as she asserts that Trump lied about her when he denied the accusations she made against him back in November. Allred confirmed that Zervos took an independently administered lie detector test and passed it. She also stated that if Donald Trump will admit he sexually assaulted Zervos, she’s willing to withdraw the lawsuit.
Although it’s illegal for citizens to sue to the president for things he does while he’s in office, it is fully legal to sue a sitting president for things he did before he took office. The announcement of this sexual assault lawsuit comes just three days before Donald Trump is set to be sworn in, and while it won’t prevent him from taking office, there are four different ways in which it could severely impact him.
This lawsuit means that during the earliest days of Trump’s administration, when a new president traditionally gets things accomplished the most quickly, he’ll instead have to devote significant time to preparing and testifying in this lawsuit. It also means that his approval rating, which is at 37% and is already historically low for someone coming into office, could plummet even further as the general public is once again reminded of Trump’s long history of alleged (and admitted) sexual assault.
It also means that Donald Trump, who appears to be flat broke according to the preponderance of the evidence, could end up pay tens of millions of dollars in this lawsuit, money which he doesn’t appear to have available to him. And finally, this lawsuit could prompt many more of Trump’s alleged victims to speak up, or to sue him themselves.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report