World

Trump campaign subpoenaed

Former The Apprentice contestant's lawsuit directs handover of documents over sexual assault allegations

WASHINGTON United States President Donald Trump's campaign has been subpoenaed as part of a defamation suit for documents related to sexual assault allegations that emerged during his run for president, according to a court document.

The lawsuit by Ms Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Mr Trump's reality TV show The Apprentice, says he made "numerous false, defamatory statements" in response to her allegations that he tried to kiss and grope her without consent.

The subpoena, issued in March but filed on Sept 19, directs the Trump campaign and its affiliates to hand over documents on Ms Zervos and her associates as well as on "any woman alleging that (Mr Trump) touched her inappropriately".

It also seeks documents on "any accusations" made during Mr Trump's election campaign that he "subjected any woman to unwanted sexual touching and/or sexually inappropriate behaviour" and on his responses to allegations against him.

The subpoena, previously not made public, was first reported by BuzzFeed News.

Ms Zervos said last year that Mr Trump had made unwanted sexual advances towards her when she met him in 2007 to discuss career opportunities.

He moved towards her aggressively during the encounter and touched her on the breast but she rebuffed him, she alleged.

Ms Zervos and several other women who made similar allegations came forward after a 2005 videotape of Mr Trump bragging about groping women surfaced in October last year.

FABRICATED

The then president-elect claimed that his comments on the tape were "locker-room banter" and denounced the sexual assault allegations as lies and fabricated stories.

According to Ms Zervos' suit, "Mr Trump became obsessed with calling Ms Zervos and any other woman who came forward to report his abuse liars with improper motives".

Mr Trump is a "liar and misogynist" who has "debased and denigrated (Ms Zervos) with false statements about her", the lawsuit says.

In another development, US actress Alyssa Milano has sparked a massive outpouring with a simple Twitter request that women respond "me too" if they have been sexually assaulted or harassed.

More than 27,000 people replied, making "#MeToo" the top trending topic through the day on Sunday.

The avalanche of personal stories comes amid a series of high-profile sex abuse scandals - the latest one centred around powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. - AFP

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