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Former ‘Apprentice’ Contestant Files Defamation Suit Against Trump

Variety logo Variety 1/17/2017 Ted Johnson
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Summer Zervos, a contestant on “The Apprentice,” appeared at a press conference with attorney Gloria Allred on Tuesday to announce a lawsuit against President-elect Donald Trump for defamation.

Before the election, Zervos accused Trump of inappropriate sexual advances as she sought his career advice at a meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel. But she did not file a lawsuit at that time.

The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in New York. Allred said that after he was hit with accusations of sexual misconduct, Trump “knowingly, intentionally, and maliciously threw” Zervos and other accusers “under the bus” and called them “liars.”

The lawsuit cites Trump’s claim that the accusations from Zervosand others were “made up events that never happened” and were “100 percent fabricated and made up charges.”

Allred said Zervos would drop the lawsuit if Trump admitted that her claims of “inappropriate sexual misconduct” with her “is and was true.”

Zervos said that since Trump “has not issued a retraction, as I requested, he has left me with no alternative but to sue him in order to vindicate my reputation.”

Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump, said, “More of the same from Gloria Allred. There is no truth to this absurd story.”

Zervos contended that after she contacted Trump following her stint on “The Apprentice,” he invited her to a 2007 meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel. But when she arrived, she was directed to his bungalow, where he attempted to force himself on her and groped her. 

Zervos was on the fifth season of “The Apprentice.”

She said that she decided to come forward in October, after the revelation of a 2005 outtake from “Access Hollywood” in which Trump bragged to host Billy Bush about grabbing women by their sexual organs. Trump later called the conversation “locker room talk” and denied actual sexual misconduct.

Zervos said that she filed her lawsuit to restore her reputation after Trump’s denials. Allred said that Zervos had passed a polygraph test after offering to take one.

Allred said that she would subpoena “The Apprentice” producers for outtakes from the show to discern Trump’s attitudes and actions toward Zervos during the making of the show. Before the election, Allred held a press conference in front of MGM, calling on Mark Burnett, the president of its TV division, to release the outtakes from the show. Burnett developed the show and serves as executive producer, along with Trump.

Before the election, more than a dozen women accused Trump of unwanted sexual advances, harassment or groping. He denied their claims.

Allred said that she “would fully expect Mr. Trump’s attorneys will be fighting this with everything they have.”

“We are going to fight this fight, we are going to fight this battle, because Ms. Zervos is the right one to fight for,” Allred said.

Allred said the she and Zervos plan to take part in the Women’s March on Washington, which will take place on Saturday, the day after Trump’s inauguration.

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