Former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos announced during a Tuesday press conference with high-profile attorney Gloria Allred that she filed a defamation lawsuit against President-elect Donald Trump.
“Today I filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump for defamation,” Zervos said, speaking to reporters in Los Angeles. “On Nov. 11, 2016, I called on Mr. Trump to retract his statements against me calling me a liar. I also called upon him to state that what I said about his behavior towards me was true. More than two months have gone by and he has not issued that retraction.”
Zervos said that Trump’s refusal to retract his statements about her and several other women who accused him of inappropriately touching or kissing them has left her with “no alternative” to filing a lawsuit.
“I want Mr. Trump to know that I will still be willing to dismiss my case against him immediately, for no monetary compensation, if he would simply retract his false and defamatory statements about me and admit that I told the truth about him,” Zervos concluded.
She did not take questions after reading her statement.
“Everybody has to take responsibility for their actions,” Allred said, answering a reporter’s question after Zervos read her statement. “I would like to be mistaken and instead have the President-elect decide that he’s going to do the right thing in reference to Ms. Zervos. As she indicated, if he will simply retract and acknowledge his conduct with Ms. Zervos, she will dismiss the lawsuit not seeking any damages nor will she seek attorney’s fees. That’s all that it will take.”
Allred said that the lawsuit’s impact on Trump’s presidency “will depend on what his reaction is to the filing of this lawsuit.”
She said that both she and Zervos will attend the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.
In a statement at the beginning of the conference, Allred cited the now-infamous “Access Hollywood” tape from 2005 in which Trump bragged about grabbing women by the genitals and trying to have sex with married women.
“And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything,” he said in the hot-mic recording, which was obtained by the Washington Post and published in October. “Grab them by the pussy.”
A week after the recording was published, Zervos held a press conference with Allred where she alleged that Trump inappropriately kissed and groped her at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2007.
Zervos told reporters that she met Trump while competing on the fifth season of “The Apprentice,” which was broadcast in 2006, and contacted him as a “possible mentor” after she left the show. She alleged that Trump forcibly kissed her twice during a meeting at his New York office and days later invited her to dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where he groped and kissed Zervos as she tried to resist his advances.
“I wanted a job within your organization. Instead, you treated me as an object to be hit upon,” she said, addressing Trump directly. “You do not have the right to treat women as sexual objects just because you are a star.”
Zervos cited Trump’s comments in the recording, as well as his later denial that he had ever acted on those comments, as the reason that she initially came forward.