Change the defendant’s name from Trump to Moonves and the civil complaint filed by Summer Zervos against the president of the United States reads like one of the complaints that cost the president of CBS his job.
“Mr. Trump immediately started kissing Ms. Zervos open mouthed, pulling her towards him,” the complaint says of the moments after a security man departed after meeting her at the entrance to the Beverly Hills Hotel and escorting her to Donald Trump’s room.
The account of this encounter in late 2007 goes on, “Ms. Zervos walked away and sat on a chair, trying to make conversation, but Mr. Trump asked her to sit next to him on a love seat. Ms. Zervos complied. After Ms. Zervos sat next to him, Mr. Trump grabbed her shoulder, again kissing her very aggressively, and placed his hand on her breast.”
The complaint says Trump was not one just to take no for an answer.
“He embraced her and she tried to push him away, shoving his chest away from her and telling him sternly ‘come on man, get real,’” the complaint asserts. “Mr. Trump repeated her words back to her lasciviously, drawing out the second word and saying, ‘get reeeeal,’ as he began to press his genitals against her, trying to kiss her again.”
It continues, “Ms. Zervos again told him she was not interested, saying, ‘Dude, you’re tripping right now.’ Mr. Trump asked her what she wanted, and she replied that she had come for dinner. Mr. Trump then said, ‘Okay, we’ll have dinner.’”
By this account, Trump “paced around the room and seemed angry” that she had not responded as he deemed his due.
Similar anger over not getting his way would be reported by a number of the dozen women who came forward to complain they had been sexually abused and harassed by Les Moonves.
The denials offered by the two men in the face of multiple accusers have much the same ring. Both accuse the women not just of lying but of doing so with malevolent intent.
Moonves said, “I can only surmise they are surfacing now for the first time, decades later, as part of a concerted effort by others to destroy my name, my reputation, and my career.”
Trump said, “Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign, total fabrication.”
One big difference is that the accusations have cost Moonves his job. Trump went on to stun even himself by winning the election.
“Do you believe this shit?” he is said to have told New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo the following morning.
Another difference is that Trump’s denials prompted one of his accusers—Zervos—to sue him for defamation. Trump’s longtime attorney Marc Kasowitz argued that a sitting president cannot be sued in a state court. Zervos’ attorney, Mariann Wang, argued emphatically otherwise. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter found for the plaintiff.
“No one is above the law,” the judge noted in ruling that Zervos could pursue the case.
Last Friday, the attorneys signed an agreement whereby Trump and Zervos consented to provide each other with written answers to written questions. The replies will be under oath, meaning a lie will be perjury, which Martha Stewart and others who landed behind bars can tell you is a crime. The deadline is noon on Sept. 28.
Meanwhile, Moonves is out of work and Trump remains our president. Trump had some harsh things to say about Moonves as a TV executive back in 2004.
“I’ve worked with Les Moonves,” Trump told an interviewer, then saying, “I think Les Moonves is the most highly overrated person in television.”
But Trump also said, “Unlike most people, I like Les Moonves.”
Trump subsequently told another interviewer that Moonves had called him after those remarks.
“I like Les Moonves, I have to tell you,” Trump said. “We are very good friends.”
Trump invited Moonves to his 2005 wedding to Melania Knauss, where the guests also included Hillary Clinton. Moonves gave a glimpse of his core morality a decade later, after Trump was seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Clinton for president. Trump had just won the New Hampshire primary despite such outrages as declaring that Sen. John McCain was not a war hero when he himself had ducked military service by claiming to suffer from bone spurs. Moonves measured the Trump campaign in the same terms he had measured episodes of Friends.
“Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now?” Moonves told a reporter. “The money’s rolling in and this is fun... I’ve never seen anything like this, and this is going to be a very good for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”
One of Moonves’ other comments back then would be widely tweeted after his ouster on Sunday.
“It might not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” Moonves said.
At the time, Moonves was speaking as the man who had been widely credited with making CBS the most watched network. He seems to have counted on his success to grant him the license to do as he wanted. He was proven wrong when the six women who initially accused him were joined by an additional six.
Trump is now seeking to use his apparent success in jobs and the economy to make decent Americans overlook sins that mark him a liar and a narcissist as well as a groping creep. We have ourselves to blame should he succeed.
If Trump and Moonves became a TV series, you could call it Fiends.