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Trump to give deposition testimony in court case brought by protesters

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Former President Donald Trump will give videotaped testimony in a legal case brought against him by protesters involving an effort by his security team to crack down on a demonstration during the earliest days of his first presidential bid in 2015.

The former president will travel back to his native New York City. He is scheduled to begin recording his deposition Monday from his office in Trump Tower, Fox News reported.

The deposition comes in response to a lawsuit filed after a protest that took place Sept. 3, 2015, outside Trump Tower in the Big Apple. Protesters were there to condemn comments Trump made about Mexican immigrants and their home country.

A half-dozen demonstrators of Mexican descent claim they were assaulted by Trump security personnel and later filed suit against the real estate magnate, as well as his company the Trump Organization, his presidential campaign, and his security personnel.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Doris Gonzalez of the Bronx turned down the former president’s request to toss the subpoena, ordering him to provide his testimony. She said his argument against testifying — that there must be “exceptional circumstances” in order to depose a high-ranking government official — didn’t apply in this case because he will be asked about comments and actions before he became president.

“This is a case about Donald Trump’s security guards assaulting peaceful demonstrators on a public sidewalk,” a lawyer for the plaintiffs, Benjamin Dictor, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“We will be taking the trial testimony of Donald Trump, under oath, on Monday after years of the defendants’ dilatory attempts to shield him from this examination. We look forward to presenting the video of Mr. Trump’s testimony to a jury at his trial,” Dictor added.

A spokesman for Trump, Taylor Budowich, told Fox News that “most of the lawsuit has already been won,” but he added that “further comment will be provided in due time.”

In addition, Trump faces another deposition in December as part of a case involving former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, who sued him over alleged defamation.

She is among more than a dozen women who came forward during Trump’s 2016 campaign alleging sexual misconduct several years earlier. She claims that the then-Apprentice host “ambushed” her on several occasions beginning in 2007, kissing her on the mouth at one point, touching her breast, and rubbing his genitals against her.

In contrast, Trump said in 2019 that the suit is politically motivated and that she turned against him after he turned down an invitation to her restaurant. He also said that Zervos tried contacting him several times for employment even after the alleged sexual misconduct occurred.

“The defendant is now a private citizen, and he just cannot delay this litigation any longer,” Zervos’ attorney, Moira Penza, told a law clerk for a judge in Manhattan during a teleconference, Fox News reported.

Marc Kasowitz, a former Trump lawyer, has called the one-time contestant’s claims meritless and said his then-client’s statements were correct and also protected by the right to free speech.

His new attorney, Alina Habba, told the AP she wants to expand Trump’s response to Zervos by drawing on a New York statute from 2020 that is aimed at protecting people from frivolous lawsuits launched by powerful people to curb criticism.

“With the new law in place, I think this case will be wrapped up very quickly,” she said after a recent court appearance.

Jon Dougherty

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