A former contestant on "The Apprentice" who previously accused President-elect Donald Trump of inappropriate sexual behavior said she has filed a defamation lawsuit againsnot the ex-reality show star.
Summer Zervos and her attorney, Gloria Allred, announced the lawsuit Tuesday, just three days before Trump's inauguration in Washington D.C. The lawsuit stems from comments then-candidate Trump made after he faced sexual misconduct allegations from several women, including "The Apprentice" Season 5 contestant Zervos, during his campaign for president.
Trump has denied all past claims of sexual misconduct and threatened legal action against the women. Zervos' defamation lawsuit calls on Trump to retract statements calling her a liar and referring to her allegations as fiction and fabrications.
"I also called up on him to state that what I said about his behavior toward me was true," Zervos said. "More than two months have gone by and he has not issued that retraction. I wanted to give Mr. Trump the opportunity to retract his false statements about me and the other women who came forward. Mr. Trump has not issued a retraction as I requested, he has therefore left me with no alternative other than to sue him in order to vindicate my reputation.
"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 acknowledge that I told the truth about him."
Allred said the lawsuit was filed in New York.
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said it was "more of the same from Gloria Allred. There is no truth to this absurd story."
When she first came forward in October, Trump issued a statement saying he "vaguely" remembered Zervos. Zervos said in October that after appearing on Trump's reality show, she arranged to meet with him in 2007 in his New York office in hopes of getting a job.
"To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago," he said. "That is not who I am as a person and it is not how I've conducted my life. In fact, Ms. Zervos continued to contact me for help, emailing my office on April 14th of this year (2016) asking that I visit her restaurant in California.
"Beyond that, the media is now creating a theater of absurdity that threatens to tear our democratic process apart and poison the minds of the American public. When Gloria Allred is given the same weighting on national television as the president of the United States, and unfounded accusations are treated as fact, with reporters throwing due diligence and fact-finding to the side in a rush to file their stories first, it's evident that we are truly living in a broken system."
The Los Angeles attorney, who previously held news conferences with other Trump accusers, vowed that an army of lawyers would defend the women if Trump took legal action.
Trump, who owns or controls hundreds of companies involved in hotels, golf resorts, office buildings and condominium towers around the world, is involved in other civil lawsuits. Earlier this month, he participated in a deposition over a lawsuit involving his Washington hotel. He also is being investigated by the New York attorney general in connection with his charity.
In November, he agreed to a $25 million settlement that ended fraud cases against now-defunct Trump University. A trial for one of the cases in that lawsuit had been scheduled for late November.
No sitting president has testified in open court, but presidents and other high ranking officials are not exempt from testifying in civil lawsuit cases. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that a sexual misconduct lawsuit filed against President Bill Clinton could proceed. The court ruled that time could be made to take a deposition and that accuser Paula Jones "has a right to an orderly disposition of her claims."
"The Apprentice" was produced and owned by MGM and appeared on the NBC Television Network.