President Donald Trump faced legal challenges from women on two fronts on Tuesday as a defamation lawsuit brought by a former Apprentice TV show contestant moved forward and a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump sued to undo a confidentiality agreement.
On Tuesday, a NY judge allowed former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos to proceed with her lawsuit claiming that President Donald Trump defamed her when he said she made up claims that he made sexual advances towards her in 2007.
Schecter's decision today rejects that claim, and gives Trump's lawyers 10 days to respond.
However, Schecter, in a 19-page decision, ruled that there is "absolutely no authority for dismissing or staying the case".
Schecter noted that the ruling "left open" whether presidents can be sued in state court over private actions, but concluded that concerns over "federalism and comity" should not block the case from proceeding.
Trump's lawyer in the case, Marc Kasowitz, did not respond to a request for comment. "We are grateful for the opportunity to prove that that defendant falsely branded Ms. Zervos a phony for telling the truth about his unwanted sexual groping", said Zervos's lawyer, Mariann Wang.
Zervos claimed that Trump kissed her twice on the lips in 2007 in his NY office, "making her 'uncomfortable, nervous and embarrassed, '" when she sought him out for job opportunities and advice after appearing on the show, according to the documents. "As we have seen over the last few weeks, these women will no longer be silent and that should scare the daylights out of Donald Trump".
The ruling to push forward with Zervos' case "is an important victory", Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet, an organization fighting sexism, said in a statement.
Schecter wrote that Trump's comments calling Zervos a liar "cannot be characterised simply as opinion, heated rhetoric or hyperbole".
Taken together, a shuffle on the legal team suggests Trump might be looking for new defenders who will echo his aggressive tone on Mueller and the Russia investigation at large like diGenova, who has accused federal law-enforcement officials of trying to "frame" Trump with a "false Russian conspiracy".
President Donald Trump speaks with the news media before boarding Marine One helicopter from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on March 13, 2018. Trump is separately embroiled in a scandal involving a $130,000 payment to an adult film actress - Stephanie Clifford, who performed under the name Stormy Daniels - who alleges he's attempting to prevent her from discussing a sexual relationship she had with him in 2006.
"You do not have the right to treat women as sexual objects just because you are a star", she tearfully said at a press conference in October 2016.