Former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos announced Tuesday that she filed a defamation lawsuit against President-elect Donald Trump for insisting her story of being sexually accosted by him in 2007 was a lie.
She added that the lawsuit, filed in New York, would be dropped “immediately” and for “no monetary compensation” if he retracted his previous statements about her and admitted that her story “was the truth.”
Joined by high-profile attorney Gloria Allred at a news conference, Zervos said she was left with no choice but to file the suit after two months had passed since she first called on Trump to retract his statements.
“I wanted to give Mr. Trump the opportunity to retract his false statements about me and the other women who came forward,” she said before noting that he has not retracted his statements.
Zervos said Trump left her now with “no alternative” other than to file a lawsuit “in order to vindicate my reputation.”
During the press conference, Allred said Zervos had passed a polygraph examination regarding her claims, and also said the lawsuit would be dropped if Trump admitted Zervos’ story “is and was the truth.”
“No one is above the law, including the president-elect, soon to be president of the United States,” she said.
In October, Allred told reporters that Zervos, a contestant in season five of “The Apprentice,” met with Trump in 2007 at the Beverly Hills Hotel to discuss business after she lost the contest. Instead of job opportunities, she alleged, Trump greeted her with a kiss on the mouth, touched her breast, and led her into his bedroom.
Zervos said Trump treated her like “an object” and that after hearing leaked audio and denials of inappropriate sexual conduct during the second presidential debate, she felt she “had to speak out” about his behavior. She also told reporters that she felt she had been “penalized for not sleeping with him” when she was looking for job opportunities with his company in 2007.
“You do not have the right to treat women as sexual objects just because you are a star,” Zervos said, addressing Trump directly.
Trump released a lengthy statement following Zervos’ October press conference, categorically denied her accusations.
“I vaguely remember Ms. Zervos as one of the many contestants on ‘The Apprentice’ over the years,” he began. “To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago. That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I’ve conducted my life. In fact, Ms. Zervos continued to contact me for help, emailing my office on April 14th of this year asking that I visit her restaurant in California.”
“Beyond that, the media is now creating a theater of absurdity that threatens to tear our democratic process apart and poison the minds of the American public. When Gloria Allred is given the same weighting on national television as the President of the United States, and unfounded accusations are treated as fact, with reporters throwing due diligence and fact-finding to the side in a rush to file their stories first, it’s evident that we truly are living in a broken system.”
He also launched into a series of tweets discrediting the many women who came forth to accuse him of similar behavior, calling the allegations “totally made up nonsense to steal the election” and “totally phony stories.”
Trump also retweeted an account that posted a Daily Caller story about an email Zervos had apparently sent speaking positively of the then-Republican presidential nominee. He said the situation with her had become “terrible.”
Natasha Bertrand contributed to this report.