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Trump to provide written answers under oath in Summer Zervos defamation lawsuit

With questions circling about President Trump giving an interview in one of his legal cases, his manner in past depositions hints at how he may behave. (Video: Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post, Photo: Alex Wong/The Washington Post)

President Trump will provide written answers under oath in the defamation lawsuit brought by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, who claims Trump sexually assaulted her in 2007, a new court filing stated.

Lawyers for Trump and Zervos agreed this week to exchange “written answers and objections” to formal written questions by Sept. 28, according to a document filed Friday with the New York State Supreme Court. Rules in New York state require interrogatories to be sworn or verified, according to a source familiar with the system, meaning that false answers could open Trump to charges of perjury.

The stipulation agreement represents a step forward in the case, which lawyers for Trump have tried to block multiple times this year without success. Zervos sued Trump for defamation in early 2017 after he called her a liar for claiming he had groped and forcibly kissed her 10 years prior. Trump denies wrongdoing in the case.

[Michael Cohen firm seeks to void nondisclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels]

Zervos lawyer Mariann Wang declined to comment on the agreement when reached by email. Marc Kasowitz, a lawyer for Trump, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The two sides have been in conflict over discovery for much of the summer.

In an Aug. 29 letter to Judge Jennifer G. Schecter released Friday, Wang wrote that lawyers for Trump and the Trump Organization were stonewalling her document requests.

“There can be no question here that Defendant has the practical ability — and indeed, the obligation — to have directed the preservation and collection of responsive documents at the Trump Organization,” Wang wrote.

The president says he's "very happy" sexual misconduct by powerful men is being "exposed." He denies all of the allegations against him. (Video: Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)

Zervos’s case against Trump is one of several pending from women with ties to the president.

Adult-film star Stormy Daniels, also known as Stephanie Clifford, is engaged in a highly publicized legal battle to invalidate a 2016 nondisclosure agreement that binds her from speaking about a sexual relationship she claims she had with Trump in 2006. That case has been delayed amid a federal investigation into Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney.

Trump denies allegations of an affair.