The Forgotten Sexual Assault Allegation That Could Bring Down Trump
Nearly a year after New Yorker Jessica Leeds and other women stepped forward with harrowing accounts of being sexually assaulted by a powerful man, another scandal with similar elements exploded with national headlines.
Only this time, the punishment was swift and devastating. Harvey Weinstein was quickly lambasted by the national media, rebuked by Hollywood, expelled from the Film Academy and deserted even by his closest friends.
After Weinstein’s fall, Trump accusers wonder: Why not him?
“It is hard to reconcile that Harvey Weinstein could be brought down with this, and President Trump just continues to be the Teflon Don,” said Leeds, according to The Washington Post. Lee claims she was groped 30 years ago on a plane by the man whose presence she cannot escape now that he sits in the Oval Office.
In Florida, Melinda McGillivray, who a year ago went public with allegations that Trump groped her at Mar-a-Lago in 2003 when she was 23, was having much the same reaction, The Post writes.
“What pisses me off is that the guy is president,” McGillivray said. “It’s that simple.”
In total, nearly a dozen women accused Trump of sexual harassment in alleged incidents. It was the sort of scandal that would have defeated an ordinary candidate in an ordinary election year. But 2016 was far from ordinary, and their claims did not stop the reality-TV star and real estate mogul on his climb to the most powerful office in the world.
But there’s one accuser who is not letting Trump off the hook. In a new lawsuit, former ‘Apprentice’ contestant Summer Zervos argues that Trump defamed her when he denied her allegations. The case could force Trump to testify and risk perjury, which could bring him down once and for all.
Zervos had dreamed of working for the host of ‘The Apprentice’ ever since she was “fired.” So when Donald Trump asked to meet up with her in December 2007 to discuss a potential job offer, she felt like her life was finally coming together. But much to Zervos’s surprise, the man she thought of as a mentor greeted her with a kiss on the mouth. Though she thought it was weird, her parents eventually convinced her that must be the way the eccentric businessman acted with everyone. With that in mind, Zervos agreed to meet up with Trump at a Beverly Hills Hotel soon after to keep pressing for a contract.
However, Trump had other plans that evening, according to the complaint. When Zervos entered the room, he allegedly planted a kiss on the woman’s mouth, pressed his genitals against her, and urged her to lie down and watch some “telly telly.”
“Like so many women who have suffered this kind of sexual abuse, Ms. Zervos felt conflicted and confused for years about the incidents,” the complaint reads, noting that after the incident she still thought of Trump as a role model. She assumed that his behavior with her was an aberration.
But once the infamous “grab them by the pussy” audio leaked in October 2016, Zervos came to the conclusion that she wasn’t the only one who had been treated as she had by Trump. She got angrier when Trump was asked about his remarks during a presidential debate and told what the complaint calls a “boldface lie” when he denied ever doing anything like what he had bragged about to Billy Bush.
“Summer has really suffered, and she deserves to have her reputation restored,” said Allred, who also represents other women who have accused Trump.
Asked this week about the case, Trump called it “totally fake news.”
“It’s just fake,” he said during a Rose Garden news conference. “It’s fake. It’s made-up stuff, and it’s disgraceful, what happens, but that happens in the — that happens in the world of politics.”
Knowing that Trump could be entering dangerous territory, his lawyers are seeking to have the case dismissed.
The next brief is due on Oct. 31, and sometime after that, a judge in New York state, where the suit was filed, is expected to rule on whether the case will proceed. If the case goes forward, Trump will argue he is immune from lawsuits in state courts until he leaves office.