“False stories. All made up. Lies. Lies. No witnesses. No nothing. All big lies,” Trump declared at a rally after Summer Zervos, who had been a contestant on his reality television show, made a statement alleging that Trump kissed and groped her in a 2007 encounter at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

The defamation suit filed in January in New York State Supreme Court by Zervos, a short-lived contestant on “The Apprentice,” has reached a critical point, with oral arguments over Trump’s motion to dismiss scheduled for Tuesday, after which the judge is expected to rule on whether the case may move forward.

If she is deemed a private citizen, Zervos simply would have to show that Trump was negligent toward the truth. If she is a public figure, the bar is far higher.

“She would have to prove he knew [what he said] was false or had reckless disregard for the truth,” said Lee Levine, senior counsel at the law firm Ballard Spahr.

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