President Donald Trump, while facing the issues associated with his position, also continues to face a number of private legal challenges over his behavior. One of those challenges is proceeding this week, with the president having agreed to provide written answers in Summer Zervos’ case against him.
Zervos is a former contestant on Trump’s old reality show The Apprentice; she’s among the women who brought sexual harassment and/or assault allegations against the president during his rise to power. After Trump called her a “liar,” she brought a defamation lawsuit against him that the president’s legal team has been fighting for months. They’ve now, though, apparently at least in part given up that fight and given up to the case proceeding.
The fact that Trump won’t be providing actual in person answers but instead written ones might reveal just how concerned his legal team really is with him potentially committing perjury. Reports to that effect have surfaced in the past. For instance, the president’s old Russia investigation lawyer John Dowd reportedly left over the president’s refusal to give space to his concerns about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team trapping the president in perjury. Longtime journalist Bob Woodward wrote in his new book Fear that Dowd came close to bluntly telling Trump:
‘You’re a fucking liar.’
He and Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow (who’s still on the team) raised their concerns to the special counsel himself, who reportedly understood at least in part where they were coming from with their concerns about degrading the office of the president should wild details of his potential testimony leak.
Although Trump has denied that Fear paints an accurate picture of his administration, on the issue of potential perjury his legal team still shows obvious signs of concern. New York City mayor turned Trump ally and eventual lawyer Rudy Giuliani went so far as to declare on national television that “truth isn’t truth” — in those words — while trying to explain why he was concerned about Mueller presenting a “version” of the truth that the president wasn’t on board with and thereby trapping him in perjury.
In the Zervos case, it seems as though the president’s lawyers are seeking to avoid all of that. The president’s written answers will reportedly be provided by the end of this month.
It’s not the only case that the president is facing — and seemingly conceding to.
Adult film star Stormy Daniels has sued Trump for defamation, too, over his dismissal of an aspect of her story in connection to a hush money agreement she signed covering an affair they had. She had previously brought a legal challenge over the agreement itself, arguing that it should be considered invalid because the president never even signed it — and this week, it came out that Trump was apparently going along with that reasoning, at least if it meant Daniels’ defamation case vanished.
Looks like Donald Trump is releasing Stormy Daniels from her NDA, agreeing with her contention that because he never signed it, the agreement doesn’t exist https://t.co/1hQfkr4Kkk
— grace wyler (@grace_lightning) September 9, 2018
Other areas of legal vulnerability for the president include his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s recent implication of him in felony campaign finance law violations involving the aforementioned hush money.
Despite this implication, though, for now Trump remains the president of the United States.
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