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Trump sues ‘Apprentice’ contestant, suggesting bad-faith lawsuit

Former President Donald Trump is suing his onetime Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos for allegedly filing a bad-faith defamation suit against him in violation of New York law.

Mr Trump’s notice of his counterclaim against Ms Zervos was filed in New York state court Monday, about two weeks after the judge overseeing the defamation case set a December deadline for Mr Trump to be questioned under oath in a videotaped deposition.

Ms Zervos, who claims Mr Trump assaulted her in a Beverly Hills hotel room more than a decade ago, sued him for defamation after he called her a liar just before the 2016 election.

“Mr Trump’s baseless counterclaim against Ms Zervos is a desperate reaction to the court’s order that he and his associates be deposed by 23 December,” Ms Zervos’s lawyers Beth Wilkinson and Moira Penza said in a statement. “We look forward to taking Mr Trump’s deposition and zealously fighting his unwarranted attacks against our client.”

Mr Trump’s counterclaim alleges a violation of New York’s Anti Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation statute, known as an anti-SLAPP law. It is meant to deter “ill-intentioned lawsuits – particularly those meant to discourage public participation or chill the free speech of others,” according to his filing.

Mr Trump made the filing on the same day he sued to block the release of documents to the US House committee investigating the 6 January attack on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

Also on Monday, Mr Trump sat for a deposition in a suit in which protesters allege they were assaulted by his staff in 2015. In a statement, he denied wrongdoing and said he was glad to tell his side of the story.

“Rather than protest peacefully, the plaintiffs intentionally sought to rile up a crowd by blocking the entrance to Trump Tower on 5th Avenue, in the middle of the day, wearing Klu Klux Klan robes and hoods,” Mr Trump said, referring to the Ku Klux Klan.

“When security tried to deescalate the situation, they were unfortunately met with taunts and violence from the plaintiffs themselves.”