Trump Kicks Off Weekend With Double Legal Win

Former 'Apprentice' contender drops defamation suit, judge dismisses Michael Cohen complaint
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2021 8:30 AM CST
Trump Kicks Off Weekend With Double Legal Win
Then-President Trump is seen in the East Room of the White House, on July 7, 2020, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

It was a good day on the legal front Friday for Donald Trump, who saw one lawsuit against him dropped and another one dismissed. CNN reports that Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice who'd filed a defamation complaint in 2017 against Trump after he denied her sexual assault claims, has agreed to drop her suit. "After five years, Ms. Zervos no longer wishes to litigate against the defendant and has secured the right to speak freely about her experience," her attorneys note in a statement, adding that Zervos "has accepted no compensation."

The Zervos complaint was dropped before Trump sat for a deposition, which a judge had ordered him to do by Dec. 23. It's not clear why Zervos—who claimed Trump had forced himself on her in a Los Angeles hotel room in 2007, then hurt her reputation by saying she'd lied about the incident—ditched her suit, but Trump has already responded, claiming he has been "totally vindicated." Trump's attorney Alina Habba says Zervos "had no choice" but to drop the suit, "as the facts unearthed in this matter made it abundantly clear that our client did nothing wrong," per the Washington Post. That's somewhat at odds with Zervos' attorneys, who note their client still "stands by the allegations in her complaint."

Meanwhile, a separate breach-of-contract complaint by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen has been dismissed by a New York judge, per the AP. Cohen had sued the Trump Organization in 2019, seeking to be compensated for nearly $2 million in legal fees for work he'd done for the company. In his Friday ruling, Judge Joel M. Cohen (no relation) said that most of the legal work Michael Cohen cited was done for the Trump campaign, the Trump Foundation, or for Trump personally, "but not out of his service to the business of the Trump Organization, which is the only defendant in this case." In a statement, the Trump Organization said it would seek "monetary damages against Mr. Cohen for all of his despicable conduct."

One big complaint against Trump that remains in play: a defamation suit by journalist E. Jean Carroll, who has claimed Trump raped her in a department store in the mid-'90s. Trump denies that allegation, but it doesn't look like Carroll's suit will disappear anytime soon. "While we don't know the circumstances of what happened in the Zervos case, we can say that E. Jean Carroll has no intention of withdrawing her complaint against Donald Trump," a Carroll attorneys says in a statement, per CNN. A federal appeals court will begin to hear arguments in that defamation case next month. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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