A New York Court of Appeal declared Thursday that President Trump is facing a libel suit filed by the former "apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos, one of about a dozen women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct shortly before the 2016 elections.
The sentence means that Zervos lawyers may have the opportunity to question Trump under oath in the coming months.  Trump called Zervos and the other women who made accusations against him "liars", prompting Zervos to file a lawsuit in 2017. Trump's lawyers have tried unsuccessfully to block the case, claiming the president is immune from such lawsuits in the state court.
In its ruling Thursday, a jury of judges of the New York Appeal rejected this argument, citing the US Supreme Court ruling in Clinton v. Jones who established that presidents may be sued while they are in office for unofficial acts. Two of the five judges on the panel disagreed in part.
"Contrary to what the defendant claims, Clinton v Jones did not suggest that his reasoning did not apply to the actions of the state court," the judges stated in the majority decision. "He simply identified a potential constitutional concern. Despite this concern, this Court should not be discouraged from believing that a state court can exercise jurisdiction over the President as a defendant in a civil case."
Zervos's legal team hailed the ruling as a statement that Trump "is not above the law".
"The case continued in the court and the discovery continues," Zervos' attorney, Mariann Wang, said in a statement. "We are not looking forward to demonstrating to a jury that Ms. Zervos has told the truth about the defendant's unwanted sexual neglect and will hold him responsible for his evil lies."
The current program sets a deadline of 28 June for depositions, with documents and electronics. The discovery should end by the end of July.
Trump's attorney, Marc E. Kasowitz, expressed disagreement with the ruling and said the president intends to appeal to the New York Court of Appeal, "which we expect will be d & # 39; agreement with dissent. "
" We believe that the well-motivated dissenting opinion of 2 of the 5 judges, citing the decision of the US Supreme Court in the Clinton v. Jones case, is correct in concluding that the clause of supremacy of the US Constitution excludes state courts from hearing cases against the president while he or she is in office, "said Kasowitz in a statement
A lawyer for the organization Trump did not immediately respond to a request of comment.
Z ervos claimed that Trump kissed and forced her during a December 2007 meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. Trump denied the allegations
Another libel suit against Trump by the adult movie actress Stormy Daniels was filed by a federal judge in October. Daniels, whose first name is Stephanie Clifford, had argued that Trump defamed her when she suggested that she lied about being threatened with keeping quiet about their alleged past relationship.
In dismissing the Daniels case, US District Judge S. James Otero wrote that Daniels presented himself as Trump's "political adversary" and that Trump's "rhetorical hyperbole" was a protected speech .
But the Zervos case differs in several key aspects, legal experts have noted.
In contrast to Daniels and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, Zervos and her lawyers took a low profile approach, a step that could help them deny claims that the case is politically motivated.
The Zervos case is also based on more than a dozen Trump statements stating that she and other women had made false accusations against him. In the Daniels case, only a Trump statement was under discussion.
Mark Berman, Alice Crites and Elise Viebeck contributed to this report.