The Trump administration has issued a number of statements regarding the mounting allegations against Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual assault and harrassment by dozens of women. But new revelations about a court case involving one of President Donald Trump's own accusers has put the predatory behavior Trump freely admitted to, back in the news.
In her defamation lawsuit against the president, the legal team of former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos has subpoenaed "all documents concerning any accusations that were made during Donald J. Trump's election campaign for president, that he subjected any woman to unwanted sexual touching and/or sexually inappropriate behavior."
Zervos was one of ten women who accused the president of sexual misconduct last October, after the release of an audio recording in which Trump bragged about assaulting women.
Trump swiftly dismissed the allegations, calling them "lies" and tweeting a blanket denial less than a month before the election. After he won the presidency last November, Zervos mounted her lawsuit against Trump.
The Trump campaign has said that the lawsuit "has no legal merit" because Trump's statements about Zervos "were made during a national political campaign that involved heated political debate in political forums."
Zervos's attorneys—in cluding Gloria Allred, who has defended many women in sexual harrassment cases—have responded that "Contrary to Defendants' spin, this case is not about robust political debate. Ms. Zervos was not a political opponent, nor was she a political commentator routinely engaged in criticizing candidates. She came forward to report the details of Defendants' unwanted sexual battery only after he repeatedly lied publicly about his behavior. Defendant then used his international bully pulpit to violate her for a second time."
The subpoena was made public on Sunday, after Trump's team said the request for documents was too broad. Trump's attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in July, citing his immunity from civil lawsuits while serving as president; Trump is due to respond to Zervos's opposition to this motion by October 31.
Meanwhile, while Fox News has devoted hours of coverage to the Weinstein accusations, it has continued to sweep allegations against Trump under the rug, with radio host Larry Elder saying on "Fox & Friends" on Monday that "whatever Donald Trump has done is child's play," compared to Weinstein's actions.
Trump critics have noted the irony of statements about the Weinstein accusations by both the White House and Fox, which has pushed the president's agenda—in light of the allegations against Trump.
This is why the Fox News drumbeat on Weinstein is shortsighted. They're making sexual assault a larger national conversation, which, have at it.— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) October 16, 2017
It's an important conversation — and one damaging to Trump.
So now that we’ve dealt with Weinstein what are we going to do about Trump?— Josh Gad (@joshgad) October 14, 2017