A high-stakes legal showdown is brewing for President Donald Trump, as a woman who said he groped her has subpoenaed all documents from his campaign pertaining to “any woman alleging that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately.”
The subpoena — whose contents have not been previously reported — was issued in March but entered into the court file last month. The White House did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Trump’s attorney.
Summer Zervos, a former contestant on the Trump’s reality TV show The Apprentice, accused Trump of kissing and grabbing her when she went to his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007 to discuss a possible job at the Trump Organization. After Zervos made the accusation last October, just weeks before the election, Trump denied her accusation and called it a lie.
She responded by suing him for defamation. As part of that suit, her lawyers served a subpoena on his campaign, asking that it preserve all documents it had about her.
They also asked for “all documents” concerning other women who have accused Trump of groping them, including Jessica Leeds, Mindy McGillivray, Rachel Crooks, Natasha Stoynoff, Temple Taggart, Kristin Anderson, Cathy Heller, Jill Harth, and Jessica Drake. The subpoena seeks “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.” Last year, Trump tweeted a blanket denial, saying, “Nothing ever happened with any of these women.”
The subpoena did not make its way into the court file until last month, when Zervos’s attorneys, including the high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred, filed it as part of motion disputing a contention from Trump’s legal team that her subpoena was too broad.
Trump's lawyers have sought to have the suit dismissed or at least delayed until he is out of office. His lawyers argued that he is protected from civil lawsuits in state court while in office. They also made a number of other claims in a July filing, among them that the entire suit is politically motivated and that Allred is using it to dredge up ammunition to impeach him. As for the subpoena, they argued that it is "far-reaching" and "seeks wholly irrelevant information intended solely to harass the president."
Last month, Zervos’s attorneys rejected that accusation and provided the subpoena as evidence.
Trump’s response to Zervos’s motion is due Oct. 31, according to Zervos’s attorney, Gloria Allred. In a statement Allred said: “We are hopeful that the court will deny President Trump’s motion to dismiss, so that we may move forward with discovery and obtain relevant documents and testimony.”
This post has been updated to clarify that the contents of the subpoena have not been previously reported.
Jessica Garrison is a senior investigative editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Jessica Garrison at email@example.com.
Kendall Taggart is an investigative data reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 4148 BEAD 45CF E7D3 84CC F602 ABF3 469D E2F7 D8A0
Contact Kendall Taggart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.