Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos asks for footage of show to use in lawsuit alleging Donald Trump "groped" her
Summer Zervos, a former contestant on the show The Apprentice, is trying to get footage from the reality show as part of the defamation suit she filed against Trump after she accused him of groping and kissing her without her consent. Her lawyer, Mariann Wang, said on May 2 that she has issued a subpoena for any material from the show that has her client or Trump talking about Zervos or about any of the other female contestants in a sexually inappropriate way.
Wang has also now subpoenaed from the Beverly Hills Hotel which is where Zervos said that Trump made the inappropriate advances more than ten years ago in 2007. She said: "We are gathering evidence that will prove that the defendant [Trump] lied when he falsely denigrated Ms. Zervos and denied sexually assaulting her."
Trump has, as usual, denied all the allegations. Zervos has claimed that the president defamed her by telling the media she lied about the encounter. His lawyers also say that these remarks he made were not slanderous.
The lawyers did not respond to the inquiry about the fresh subpoenas which are looking to get emails, financial records, and other documents aside from the video and audio recordings. Trump's attorneys have been trying their best to get the Zervos case dismissed or at least put off till a later date after he finishes his presidency.
During Trump's presidential campaign, the question arose whether he said or did anything that was captured in the outtakes of the show. The Associated Press had asked for the original footage from the show before they published an article in October 2016 in which former cast and crew members claimed that Trump used lewd, demeaning, and sexist language on the set of the show. A request for the footage was made even after the article was published. The article in question spoke of the contestants that he had wanted to have sex with.
The former contestants of the show and Democrats put pressure on the showrunners to release the raw footage from the show and it increased in intensity in the same month as The Associated Press article after The Washington Post published a recording of Trump from a 2005 Access Hollywood interview where he aggressively spoke about groping multiple women.
Around this time, MGM, the company that owns The Apprentice, said that it could not release any unaired or archived material because of all the contractual obligations. Mark Burnett, the producer for the show, said that he didn't have the right to release footage and he didn't have the ability either. Leaving aside all the contracts, Wang said that an order from the court could make the producers hand over the material.
She said: "It is one thing when the public at large is asking for something, but when you have the power of a court-ordered subpoena, a very different set of rules apply."
The New York Times first reported that MGM had declined to comment on the subpoena that was filed against them. Zervos' lawyers are also looking to acquire security footage from The Beverly Hills Hotel, records of Trump's stay over there and any other information about one bodyguard and an assistant who worked for Trump for many years.
Zervos and more than a dozen other women bravely came forward during Trump's presidential campaign to say that he has sexually harassed or assaulted them. He then denied all the claims and even retweeted one message that included Zervos' photo and called the claims a "hoax".
He said at one campaign rally: "Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. Total fabrication. The events never happened."
The suit that is filed by Zervos does not claim any sexual harassment because legally the time for that ended many years ago so she is, instead, suing the president for calling her a liar. She said it hurt her reputation and ruined her business which ultimately led to threats made against her.
Zervos swore in a statement in September 2017: "I've suffered terribly as a result of [Trump's] lies and attacks upon me." She is looking to get $3,000 and an apology.
Trump's attorneys, on the other hand, have said that the remarks he had made were "non-defamatory opinions". A judge in Manhattan also denied the requests to dismiss the case or postpone it to after he is done being president but his lawyers are appealing anyway.