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Top New York Court Rules Against Trump in Apprentice Contestant Defamation Suit

Top New York Court Rules Against Trump in Apprentice Contestant Defamation Suit
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Despite his multiple failed business ventures and his growing debt, former President Donald Trump—before his time in the White House—was able to publicly brand himself as a successful businessman through the NBC show, The Apprentice.

The premise featured Trump, along with his children Ivanka and Don Jr., hosting a competition series for the most promising businessperson before branching off into variations like Celebrity Apprentice.

An Apprentice contestant, Summer Zervos, sued Trump during his 2016 campaign for defaming her as a liar when she became one of the dozens of women to accuse him of unwanted kissing and groping after she came to him for business advice in 2007.

Pre-trial evidence gathering was delayed last year after Trump's lawyers argued for the suit's dismissal, claiming that as President, Trump was shielded from lawsuits in state courts.

With Trump out of the White House for more than two months, Zervos' lawyers asked New York Court of Appeals to throw out the request for dismissal, since Trump was no longer in office.

In a one-sentence ruling, the Court of Appeals agreed:

"Motion to dismiss appeal granted and appeal dismissed, without costs, upon the ground that the issues presented have become moot."

The development could result in Trump facing a deposition from Zervos' attorneys, who said:

"Now a private citizen, the defendant has no further excuse to delay justice for Ms. Zervos, and we are eager to get back to the trial court and prove her claims."

The suit is just one case in a mountain of litigation centering on Trump or the Trump Organization.

Social media was hopeful that this would result in Trump being held legally accountable after years of using the presidency to shield himself.

With Trump facing over a dozen civil and criminal cases against him, some think his evasion of legal liability will soon come to an end.

Zervos is asking for a retraction, an apology, and damages.