The Daily Beast reports that the precedent set in allowing Paula Jones to sue then-President Bill Clinton now holds peril for Donald Trump.

The case involves one of the women who have accused Trump of sexual assault during his TV reality show days.


Not long before Inauguration day, one of the women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct— former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos—filed a lawsuit in New York. The lawsuit alleges that Trump defamed her by calling her a liar after she came forward with allegations that he groped her. If the lawsuit were to proceed, it would likely prove embarrassing to Trump, as the case could go into discovery and the president could be compelled to testify.

Trump’s lawyers want the whole thing to go away. They claim that Zervos has no grounds to sue Trump in state court, because he’s the President and the President can’t be sued.

But a group of attorneys dispute this. In an amicus brief filed today in New York, the group claims that Zervos does have standing to sue Trump, just as Paula Jones had standing to sue then-President Bill Clinton. 

Some of the same lawyers who successfully argued for the Jones case to proceed are working in behalf of Zervos. The issue is whether the president is above the law. The Jones case applied in federal court. The Zervos case is in state court. A win for Trump on this issue could effectively hold him harmless in numerous claims against him over private business practices, too.

Because the question of whether the president can be sued in state courts has never been answered, this case could spend years working its way through the court system. And at the end of it, we could get another tape of Trump talking on camera, knowing he’s being recorded, testifying about alleged disparagement of an alleged target of sexual harassment.

When you’re a celebrity, you can grab whatever you want, Trump has famously said. When you’re president, do you have to testify about it?