Summer Zervos
Summer Zervos listens as her attorney Gloria Allred speaks during a news conference announcing the filing of a lawsuit against President-elect Donald Trump in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 17, 2017. Reuters/Mike Blake

Donald Trump argues that he can’t be sued by a woman he allegedly groped because he is now the president of the United States. The American leader is being sued for defamation by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos.

Zervos appeared in the season 5 of the Trump-starred reality show in 2006. According to her, Trump was sexually suggestive when they met at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007. She claimed he was aggressive during their meeting, groping her breasts and even kissing her in the mouth. Trump called her and other women who accused him of sexual assault “liars,” prompting Zervos to file for defamation in January against the 45th US president.

Trump’s legal team is arguing that as the sitting president, Trump couldn’t be sued while he is in office. Attorney Marc E Kasowitz said Trump will pursue a motion to dismiss Zervos’ lawsuit or put it on hold for at least four years, the duration of his presidency.

Zervos’ lawyer, Gloria Allred, said Trump is subject to litigation for his conduct prior to becoming the president. She is banking on a previous Supreme Court case involving then-president Bill Clinton. In the Clinton v Jones case in 1994, it was ruled that Clinton was not immune from the sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee who claimed Clinton prepositioned her when he was still the governor of the state.

Trump’s legal camp, however, argued that the “Apprentice” star and real estate tycoon is immune from the lawsuit under the Supremacy Clause of the US constitution, which says federal law supersedes state law. Jones filed her case against Clinton in federal court, while Zervos filed in a state court in New York.

“Moreover, as in Clinton v Jones, the public interest mandates that the immunity issue be resolved before proceeding further,” Kasowitz wrote (via The Hollywood Reporter). He added that the “singular most importance of the president’s duties” warrants if civil actions such as the suit filed by Zervos would distract the president from performing his public duties. “Requiring Trump to litigate the merits on a motion to dismiss the complaint, in addition to moving to dismiss on grounds of presidential immunity, would negate the very interests that that immunity is designed to protect.”

Allred, in response, said that the Clinton v Jones case adequately determined that “no man is above the law,” including the US president. “We look forward to arguing this issue in court,” she told THR.