New York state judge rejects Trump's bid to dismiss defamation suit by former 'Apprentice' contestant Summer Zervos
Former "Apprentice" contest and Trump accuser Summer Zervos (left) and President Donald Trump (right). Images via Shutterstock.

A defamation lawsuit filed against U.S. President Donald Trump by a contestant on his former reality show “The Apprentice” who accused him of sexual harassment can proceed, a New York state judge ruled on Tuesday, raising the possibility of Trump being forced to answer questions about his behavior toward women.

Justice Jennifer Schecter in the Manhattan Supreme Court said there was “absolutely no authority” to dismiss or stay a civil lawsuit by Summer Zervos related “purely to unofficial conduct” because Trump was U.S. president.

 The ruling could force Trump to submit to questioning by lawyers for Zervos and lead to further public scrutiny of other claims of sexual misconduct that have been made against the president.

Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Ben Klayman and Bill Trott