A legal process that ultimately crippled the Bill Clinton presidency is advancing in a New York courtroom.

On Tuesday, a judge set a deadline for depositions (sworn testimony) to be taken from President Donald Trump and Summer Zervos, who accuses Trump of defamation. It was former President Clinton’s lie in a deposition in the Monica Lewinsky scandal that led to the perjury charge that was a key to his impeachment in 1998.

While the media glare has been fixed on Stormy Daniels’ $130,000 “hush money” beef with Trump, the Zervos case has advanced more rapidly. Zervos, who was a contestant on Trump’s former reality TV show “The Apprentice” in 2006, says Trump defamed her on the campaign trail when he publicly accused her and other women of being liars.

Zervos has alleged that Trump groped her when she sought career advice from him in 2007. Trump has claimed that Zervos and more than a dozen other women who have accused him of sexual misconduct are lying. “He specifically contested Zervos’ allegations in a statement and retweeted a message that included her photo and described her claims as a ‘hoax,’ ” The Associated Press reports.

New York state Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter set a Jan. 29, 2019, deadline for depositions from Zervos and Trump. It was Schecter who wrote, in a March 20 hearing on the Zervos case:

“No one is above the law. It is settled that the president of the United States has no immunity and is ‘subject to the laws’ for purely private acts.”

The case she referred to is the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1997 decision in Clinton v. Jones. The court ruled that a sitting president has no immunity from civil litigation in federal court and that such cases may not be delayed until the president leaves office.

The AP’s Jennifer Peltz writes:

Lawyers for President Donald Trump argued in court Tuesday that a former “Apprentice” contestant should not be able to obtain information on his campaign’s discussions of other women who have also accused him of sexual misconduct.

The court hearing was the first since a Manhattan judge turned down Trump’s bid to dismiss Summer Zervos’ defamation lawsuit or delay it until after his presidency. …

“It’s a defamation case,” Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz told … Schecter. As for information about other women who aren’t part of the case, “those claims, that evidence … is irrelevant,” he said.

Mariann Wang, the lawyer representing Zervos, said outside court that the other women’s accusations were indeed relevant: “It’s a defamation case, so we are required to prove the falsity of the statements, and his statements include statements about other women.”

Zervos’ lawyers have issued subpoenas seeking a range of information about Trump’s behavior toward women, including any “Apprentice” material that features Zervos or Trump talking about her or discussing other female contestants in a sexual or inappropriate way.

They also have requested any Trump campaign records concerning Zervos, any other woman who has accused Trump of inappropriate touching or the 2016 emergence of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording of Trump talking about aggressively groping women.

Zervos’ lawyers also have subpoenaed security video, records of Trump’s stays and some other information from the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Zervos says Trump made some of his unwelcome advances toward her.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz told Schecter that because of the “significant attendant duties” of the presidency, his client may want more time to comply with the deposition order.

If and when Trump sits down for the deposition, he has to tell the truth or face a possible perjury charge. When Clinton denied in his January 1998 testimony that he had “sexual relations” with former White House aide Monica Lewinsky, he was caught in a lie, charged with perjury and later impeached by the House of Representatives. He survived as president, but with his reputation sullied and his political agenda in tatters.

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