- In 2017, Zervos filed a lawsuit against Trump after he denied her accusation of sexual assault.
- Attorneys for Trump argued she started the litigation to inhibit his freedom of speech.
- A New York State court said in October that Trump must give a deposition by December 23.
Lawyers representing Donald Trump argued that Summer Zervos cannot sue him for defamation because she is lying about being sexually assaulted by the former president, according to a counterclaim filed on Monday.
Zervos filed the defamation lawsuit against Trump in 2017 when he publicly denied her accusation of sexual assault and accused her and other accusers of being “liars” who were trying to sabotage him. After appearing on NBC’s “The Apprentice,” Zervos claimed Trump kissed her against her will in 2007 in New York and later groped her in a California hotel.
Attorneys for Trump argued in the counterclaim that Zervos initiated the litigation for the “sole purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing, or otherwise maliciously inhibiting” his rights, including freedom of speech.
“[Zervos] knew when she asserted her defamation claim that the statements at issue in the claim were truthful and not defamatory,” the counterclaim said.
Two months prior, the New York State Judge Jennifer Schechter instructed lawyers for both Trump and Zervos to complete the factual discovery phase by December 23, 2021, which would require Trump to sit for a deposition.
“Mr. Trump’s baseless counterclaim against Ms. Zervos is a desperate reaction to the court’s order that he and his associates be deposed by December 23. We look forward to taking Mr. Trump’s deposition and zealously fighting his unwarranted attacks against our client,” Beth Wilkinson and Moira Penza, who represent Zervos, said in an email.
Alina Habba, the attorney representing Trump in the case, argued in the counterclaim that Zervos’ claim is barred under New York’s new anti-SLAPP law, which is meant to deter frivolous lawsuits.
Insider has reached out to Habba for comment.