President Donald Trump has formally denied allegations made by a former contestant on "The Apprentice" who is suing him for defamation.
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Trump's legal team submitted its answer to the lawsuit filed in New York by Summer Zervos, who appeared on the reality show in 2005.
The president denied he subjected Zervos to unwanted advances and denied claims that he "debased and denigrated" her by making false statements on the campaign trail.
Zervos alleged he defamed her after she came forward in the waning weeks of the campaign with allegations that Trump had groped and kissed her a decade ago without consent.
Trump has sought, so far unsuccessfully, to freeze the case while he tries to have it dismissed. His attorney, Marc Kasowitz, has signaled his intent to appeal to the state’s highest court but, in the meantime, was obligated to issue a formal response to the allegations.
"We look forward to proving that his denials are baseless,” Mariann Wang, Zervos’ attorney, said in a statement.
The only assertion in the lawsuit Trump admits to: “In July 2016, Mr. Trump was selected as the presidential nominee for the Republican Party.”
Judge Jennifer Schecter is allowing the case to move forward despite Trump’s pursuit of an appeal, raising the prospect that both the president and his campaign will be required to respond to discovery requests and, possibly, depositions.
The Trump campaign is currently facing a deadline of Tuesday to respond to a wide-ranging subpoena from Zervos’ lawyers, seeking documents and records related to Zervos and to all the other women who made allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump prior to the election.
Kasowitz filed a notice of appeal with the Court of Appeals earlier this week. Trump’s side has maintained -- despite the setbacks thus far -- that Trump is immune, under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, from lawsuits in state court while he is serving as president of the United States.