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Former 'Apprentice' Contestant Is Suing Donald Trump For Defamation

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Summer Zervos (Julia Wick / LAist)
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A California woman is filing a lawsuit against President-elect Donald Trump for defamation, attorney Gloria Allred announced at a press conference on Tuesday.

Back in October, Summer Zervos alleged that Trump had sexually harassed her while leading her on about a possible job offer. Zervos, a former contestant on the Trump-vehicle The Apprentice, said that she'd reached out to Trump in 2007 about a potential career opportunity. A secretary arranged a meeting between Zervos and Trump, and when Zervos arrived in Trump's office, he immediately kissed her on the mouth. Zervos said that, initially, she'd brushed it off as his way of greeting people. But, during a second meeting in Beverly Hills, Zervos was instructed to go to Trump's private room, and was again harassed by him. According to Zervos, he greeted her by grabbing her shoulder, touching her breast, and kissing her "very aggressively."

At Tuesday's press conference, Allred, who's representing Zervos, said that Zervos and other women who'd accused Trump of sexual misconduct were wrongly branded as liars. Trump “knowingly, intentionally, and maliciously threw each of these women under the bus," said Allred, reports the Daily Beast. In October, Trump responded to Zervos' allegations by saying that he "vaguely remembered" her, and only recalled that she'd asked him to visit a restaurant that she owned, according to NPR. He denied all wrong doing. Allred said that Trump has caused her client emotional distress by claiming in public that she'd lied.

Allred said that she'd asked Trump two months ago to retract his statements about Zervos, but he did not comply, according to The Independent. "There is no good time [to file the lawsuit]. There is no bad time. We were patient. But time is up," said Allred. Zervos said that she would be willing to retract the lawsuit as long as Trump admitted to the alleged sexual assault, adding that she was mainly concerned with repairing her reputation.

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To date, more than 17 women have come forward with allegations that they were victims of unwanted sexual advances by Trump, according to Mother Jones. The accusers include a number of Miss America contestants, a journalist, and a receptionist at a real estate company based in Trump Tower.