Donald Trump had a tense hearing in a New York City courtroom on Tuesday over a civil fraud case he is being sued over, receiving insulting and scathing remarks of reprimand from the judge presiding over the case.
Trump is being sued by a woman named Summer Zervos, who alleges he groped and kissed her against her will in 2007. She is now claiming defamation by the President, prompting the suit. In an attempt to dispute Zervos’s claims, Trump’s lawyers argued Tuesday that the President has “absolute immunity” from civil lawsuits, which the judge ruled did not exist.
Judge Jennifer Schecter scolded Trump during proceedings, saying his “unfortunate role” in the case should have been “up front and direct” from the beginning. This prompted Trump’s lawyer to retort in defense, to which the judge sternly responded, “I understand that I’m not in the courtroom of an election, and that you are not campaigning. This is a civil case and you are under oath. I understand you want to save face, but you can’t do that here.”
The remainder of the hearing was chaotic, with Trump’s lawyers attempting to dispute not only the claims of Zervos, but also the credibility of the proceedings and the legitimacy of the judge. Despite the attempts to derail the court, the judge admonished Trump on multiple occasions and determined that the proceedings would move forward as planned and concluded the hearing.
The Wednesday proceeding was a clear indication of the discomfort of the situation that President Trump is currently in. Not only has he been accused of sexual misconduct, but his attempts to dispute the case have seen him publicly clash with a judge and be reprimanded in a New York City courtroom. This defamation case could set a new precedent for future lawsuits against American presidents and it will be fascinating to watch as it plays out.