Trump wants a sexual assault case halted because the 'witch hunt' affects his job

A former Apprentice contestant says she was groped by the US president in 2007.

Trump's legal team have dismissed the claims against the president as a "witch hunt"Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump has asked a judge to drop a sexual assault case filed against him by a former contestant on The Apprentice because he is serving as president.

Trump's attorney Marc Kasowitz, who is also the president's defence in investigations into the president's possible ties to Russia during his campaign, filed a request for a New York judge to halt the lawsuit.

Summer Zervos, a former contestant on the reality TV programme, says Trump kissed and groped her in a hotel room in 2007 after inviting her to dinner.

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But Trump's legal team has dismissed Zervos' claims as "a private witch hunt" with the aim of politically damaging the president and interfering with his ability to do his job.

"Ms. Zervos and her counsel have openly conceded — indeed, bragged — that their true motivation is to use this action for political purposes as a pretext to obtain broad discovery that they hoped could be used in impeachment hearings to distract from the President's agenda," Kasowitz wrote in the motion filed with New York Supreme Court Judge Jennifer Schecter.

Controversially, Kasowitz has argued that Trump is immune from suits in state courts during the time he serves as US president.

In 1997, the US Supreme Court ruled the president is not immune from civil lawsuits while in office, in a case involving then-president Bill Clinton and former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones.

Although this appears to contradict Kasowitz's argument, Trump's legal team are arguing the 1997 case doesn't clarify whether presidents can be subject to suits in state courts - as the Clinton case was brought at a federal level.

Zervos' legal team argue Trump doesn't have immunity as the incidents occurred before he became president.

She has also filed a defamation suit, claiming Trump has damaged her reputation by denying the sexual assault allegations and calling her a liar. Zervos has requested $3,000 (£2,300) in damages.

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Summer Zervos accused Trump of sexually inappropriate conduct prior to the presidential electionDavid McNew/Getty Images

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