Court: Trump Must Appear For Seven Hour Deposition In Defamation Case

440px-Official_Portrait_of_President_Donald_TrumpIn a major development, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter has ordered that President Donald Trump must sit for seven hours of questioning in the defamation case of former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos. The case is a defamation action is linked to Zervos’ allegation of sexual harassment by Trump. In April, I wrote a column warning that Trump’s local counsel in various states were recklessly using presidential privilege and immunity arguments to try to kill various lawsuits.  Now, just as Trump’s team appears to be moving away from a sit down with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, he will have to submit to a grueling, high-risk deposition in New York. The obvious analogies to the Bill Clinton scandal and impeachment are inescapable. 

Notably, the order allows for a substantial amount of time — far more than the couple hours that the Trump lawyers have suggested as an outside limit with Mueller.  In the Jones case, Clinton testified for a little over four hours.

Trump could certainly challenge the order, though the Supreme Court ruled in Clinton v. Jones (correctly) that a president cannot claim immunity from such a civil deposition. Notably, in that decision, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote ” . . . it appears to us highly unlikely to occupy any substantial amount of petitioner’s time.” Of course, it would occupy more than a few hours in the end since Clinton lied under oath on April 12, 1999, the judge found Clinton in contempt of court for “intentionally false” testimony. Ultimately, Clinton’s false testimony on the Lewinsky affair led to his impeachment.  I was one of the constitutional experts called to testify as to the basis for the impeachment.  While I had voted for Clinton, I believed that he could certainly be impeached for lying under oath as a high crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution.

The rejection of Trump’s immunity arguments was predictable. However, the ruling also reinforces the expectation that any defiance of Mueller will result in a subpoena and a court order to appear before the Grand Jury.

The looming issue will be whether Schecter allows questioning on other women and their allegations of assault or harassment from Trump.  As a general matter, the scope for questions is broader in a deposition. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) allows discovery of relevant, inadmissible information so long as it is “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.”   Thus, if the answer can lead to admissible evidence, it is generally allowed.  Most courts allow the record to be established and then address relevancy or other issues in pre-trial motions.  Depositions allowed for theories and lines of inquiry to be tested even though much of the information may not pass muster for admission at trial. That is obviously not ideal for the President if he is asked about a pattern with other women.  Moreover, if he denies ever sexually harassing women, his veracity can be a issue in seeking information on additional women.

The deposition is set for Jan. 31st.  That is a dangerous potential time since, if Mueller puts the investigation into a holding pattern as he approaches the November midterm elections, he would be ramping up again during that period.


170 thoughts on “Court: Trump Must Appear For Seven Hour Deposition In Defamation Case”


    I’m sure you will see that this judge has abused children and has provided “covered” for the New York crime DEM Criminal Cult.

    Just find crimes and ties with past criminal Clinton members and they can be removed from office for using their power criminally, just like the FBI, DOJ, CIA and Dem’s have and are doing.

    This filth is clearly criminal and if he was in Mexico, their entire DNA siblings would be removed to save humanities future from ever spreading to destroy humans morales and values.

    This judge must know about the NYPD Hillary child abuse, torture and rape they have on video tape that the NYPD and FBI has refused to prosecute. Its been 3 years now in their hands and not a single charge? So what is this judges involvement in Clintons child abuse network? Participant and abuser?

  2. Welcome to American Lawfare – lots of screaming Indians but alas their smoke signals dont carry as far in rapidly churning atmospheric wind currents. Facts still matter in the real world. Mueller has nothing on Dtrumpf.

    “I think that the special counsel’s allegations of witness tampering are rather … thin. The FBI agent’s declaration in support of the allegations is long on detail about what Manafort and the “Hapsburg Group” did before the elections and short on information about the tampering allegation itself. Drill down into the exhibits and you will see that only one, Exhibit N, is evidence of communications between Manafort and the witnesses he is alleged to have contacted in a tampering effort.

    Study that exhibit and you will see that Manafort was successful in speaking to one witness (Person D1) for exactly 1 minute and 24 seconds. He attempted three other phone calls that did not connect and he sent two WhatsApp messages—one a link to an article describing his indictment and the other saying “we should talk.” When asked about the contents of the conversation with Manafort, according to paragraph 14 of the FBI declaration, Person D1 said that “Manafort stated that he wanted to give Person D1 a heads-up about Hapsburg” and “D1 immediately ended the call because he was concerned about the outreach.”

    And that’s it. Really.”

    1. Actually, that wasn’t all it, was it?
      “To be sure, the statements of Person A are more troubling. Taken at their most damning, they are evidence that the reason Manafort wanted to talk was to try to get Person D1 to agree on a false cover story. But there is very little evidence (at least that I can see in the FBI declaration) that Person A was acting at Manafort’s direction and that the story Person A was relating was, in fact, the story that Manafort wanted told. Absent evidence from Person A directly, the bare language of the texts that Person A sent is enough to make the story of witness tampering plausible, for sure. But it is so far from a slam-dunk of evidentiary proof that one has to hope that the Mueller team has more than this to present at a hearing. “

  3. Do America and Americans need more proof of the incoherence and hysteria of the 19th Amendment and the bias and corruption of “judges?”

    This judge should have thrown this case out. She was inhibited by her radial ideology.

    Understanding that laws preventing violence and property damage are legitimate, laws nullifying natural and God-given romantic protocols and American freedoms are preposterous and unconstitutional.

    The 19th Amendment is prima facie unconstitutional as women’s suffrage was consciously and deliberately omitted and, thereby, excluded by the American Founders for obvious reasons. The intent of the Founders was that acts that injure the Constitution may not be proposed, ratified or adopted:

    James Madison – Proposed Amendments to the Constitution, June 8, 1789

    “And if there are amendments desired, of such a nature as will not injure the constitution, and they can be ingrafted so as to give satisfaction to the doubting part of our fellow citizens; the friends of the federal government will evince that spirit of deference and concession for which they have hitherto been distinguished.”

    Injury to the Constitution is manifest as countless freedoms have been nullified and denied to Americans in order to accommodate the superior “rights” gifted by the 19th Amendment.

    People must adapt to the outcomes of freedom.

    Freedom does not adapt to people.

    Dictatorship does.



    The professor called last week to say my comments are greatly upsetting deplorables . Apparently deplorables felt this thread was a safe space to freely express. But deplorables now feel bullied and besieged. And their “What about Hillary comments” sound increasingly shrill!

    Therefore the professor suggested I create an alter-ego who spoke as a deplorable. In fact, it was the professor’s idea to simply reverse my name for this deplorable character. A clever idea, indeed.

    So when you see my name reversed as ‘Hill Peter’, that’s just me mimicking a deplorable. As this deplorable, I have free license to say the most stupid, obnoxious things.

    The deplorables shall now feel a kindred spirit in their midst.



    Vanity Fair ran this piece yesterday concerning deep unhappiness at FBI. Rank & file personnel are seething at Trump. Every day now they have to answer questions about the alleged ‘politicization’ at FBI. And they’re totally sick of it! Trump’s deep state narrative affects their whole operation from witness cooperation to grand jury hearings.

    As one official said, “Imagine a group of Special Agents in New York investigating a former real estate developer. Before they might have worked six days a week investigating that subject. But now I guarantee, they’re working seven days per week”.

    1. Maybe so.

      Or maybe they are seething and begging to testify because their former director and assistant directory have lied under oath. Because they white washed one political investigation and used the FBI for political purposes in another.

      I am sure there are a few agents who Trump has angered.
      I am also sure that there are a few that are angry about the conduct of their superiors that has brought shame to all.

      As to investigating Trump – The FBI is not supposed to investigate anyone on whim.

      It is already clear that the Trump/Russia investigation started outside the rules – and there are written rigid rules. and they were not followed.

      If that happens elsewhere heads will roll.

      So if agents in NYC wish to start investigations they should dot their eyes and cross their tees
      or lose their job.

    2. Just what we need — a clandestine law enforcement organization with a grudge. In sane times, we called that Stasi.

      1. In sane times Trump’s jokes about Megyn Kelly’s periods would have ended his campaign. Seriously! In sane times every pundit in the country would declared that Donald Trump lacked the maturity to function as president. At that point the Republican party would have demanded that Trump withdraw from the primaries. But again, that would have happened only in sane times.

        1. In sane times Trump’s jokes about Megyn Kelly’s periods would have ended his campaign.

          No, they wouldn’t have, because those times were not sane. Purveyors of the call-out culture relished their ability to manufacture sh!t storms. Trump has taken away from them something they valued. The media swine who played these games were and are shallow and vicious and their demise is something to celebrate.

          1. Nutchacha:

            Cite a specific moment in recent history when a presidential candidate made a joke that juvenile and smutty during the primary season. I can’t think of one.

            But then you seem to be saying that somehow we are ‘liberated’ because Trump got away with that.

        2. that Donald Trump lacked the maturity to function as president.

          The adult population doesn’t consist of people with the souls of shallow elementary schoolteachers. Deal with it.

          1. Since the “Me Too” movement began, a joke like that would almost certainly get a man fired from any ‘name’ employer.

            Though even when Trump said it, that joke would have probably gotten a man fired from most ‘name’ employers.

    3. “as one official said….” No wonder VF is laying off people – who reads them anymore? The rank and file are no doubt delighted to see their compromised arrogant superiors being brought under the spotlight. How do they feel about the FBI using commercial sources such as CrowdStrike to analyze data for them?

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