As if the pain his chaotic administration is inflicting on Americans is not enough, Donald Trump now wants immunity from breaking the law. You read that right. In court, Attorneys for Donald Trump asserted that the president should be immune from a defamation lawsuit.
Attorneys for Donald Trump made a case for immunity in a court filing last week. They assert that the president should be immune from the defamation lawsuit against him based on the supremacy clause of the US constitution. They contend that it would distract the president from the performance of his duties which could be detrimental to the president, and the nation as a whole.
There are legal precedents that speak to the issue of presidential immunity. As far back as 1962, President John F. Kennedy settled a lawsuit against him for his role in a minor traffic accident that occurred before he became president. The judge had ruled at that time that he could be sued like any other person. More recently, in the 1990s President Clinton was sued for his alleged actions before he took office. At that time, the supreme court ruled that the president is not automatically shielded from civil lawsuits, and allowed the case to proceed.
A defamation lawsuit was filed by Summer Zervos, a contestant on The Apprentice. In October of 2016, she claimed that Donald Trump kissed and groped her in a hotel room in 2007. When a request for a retraction of his statements was made by Summer’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, there was no response which led to the filing of the lawsuit just days before the inauguration. The lawsuit claims that Trump was aware that the statements he made would result in “threats of violence, economic harm, and reputational damage” to his accusers.
Allred also said that Zervos was willing to end the lawsuit if he retracted his statements and acknowledge that she was being truthful.
The lawyer for Summer Zervos said that the president is not immune from their defamation lawsuit. Citing the Supreme Court ruling in the 1997 Clinton V Jones case, Allard said that the Supreme court had addressed the issue of legal immunity and had made a unanimous determination that no one including the President of the United States was above the law.