Trump to go under oath for first time as ex-president

The civil suit is just one of ten that the former president is currently facing

By Jon Skolnik

Staff Writer

Published October 18, 2021 12:01PM (EDT)

Donald Trump (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Donald Trump (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is expected to answer questions under oath about a 2015 assault that allegedly occurred during a demonstration just outside of Trump Tower, marking the first public deposition that the former president has agreed to since leaving office. 

The deposition – ordered by New York state Supreme Court Judge Doris Gonzalez and set to be conducted via video conference – centers on a civil lawsuit filed by a group self-described as "human rights activists of Mexican origin," according to CNN. The group, which was protesting against Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric in the leadup to the 2016 election, alleges that one of its members, Efrain Galicia, was struck on the head by Keith Schiller, Trump's then-head of security, when Schiller attempted to confiscate Galicia's protest sign. When Galicia resisted, Schiller apparently ripped the sign into pieces. 

"This is a case about Donald Trump's security guards assaulting peaceful demonstrators on a public sidewalk," Benjamin Dictor, a lawyer representing Galicia, told AP News. "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."

Traditionally, Gonzalez said, "exceptional circumstances" must be established in order to warrant the deposition of a high-ranking public official. However, the judge noted that the condition doesn't apply in the case of the lawsuit because it concerns Trump's conduct outside of his official duties in office.

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The former president is currently facing a spate of ten additional civil lawsuits, according to NBC News, and has reportedly struggled to delay them since leaving office. 

Among these suits includes a claim filed by former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos, who back in 2016 alleged that Trump sexually assaulted her when she was seeking professional advice roughly a decade earlier. In response, Trump tarred Zervos as a liar, prompting the former contestant to file a defamation suit. 

"The defendant is now a private citizen, and he just cannot delay this litigation any longer," Zervos attorney Moira Penza said, according to AP News. Trump's attorneys have expressed an intent to file a countersuit. 

On top of Zervos' sexual assault allegations, Trump continues to battle those of E. Jean. Carroll, a former journalist who similarly accused Trump of slander after the former president accused Carroll of fabricating claims of rape dating back to the 1990s. Following Carrol's accusations, Trump responded that it the incident "never happened," adding that Carroll was "not my type."

Carroll reportedly still possesses the same dress she wore during the encounter and is willing to submit it for DNA analysis. 

Trump's legal team has argued that his official duties as the former president should immunize him from Carroll's suit – a position President Biden's Justice Department has formally backed. However, back in September, a federal judge shot down Trump's claims of immunity.

By Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik was a former staff writer at Salon.

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Assault Brief Civil Suits Defamation Deposition Trump Trump Tower