Summer Zervos, the season 5 Apprentice contestant who accused Donald Trump of sexual assault last month, called for the President-elect to retract his threat to sue his accusers, in a press conference on Friday.
During the press conference — hosted in Los Angeles by attorney Gloria Allred — Zervos was visibly and audibly emotional as she read a prepared statement addressing PEOTUS.
“Mr. Trump stated that after the election he would file lawsuits against me and the other accusers he sexually assaulted,” Zervos said, noting that since claiming that Trump assaulted her in 2007, she’s been “threatened, bullied and saw my business targeted.”
She continued, through tears, “I also suffered other repercussions because I chose to speak out and tell the truth.”
Zervos said that after competing on Trump’s reality show, she approached him looking for job opportunities. She claimed that the first time they met in New York City, the businessman kissed her on the lips, leaving her “nervous and embarrassed.”
Later, Trump phoned Zervos at her home in Huntington Beach, allegedly calling her his “OC (Orange County) Angel.” He allegedly invited her to dinner where he was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and — in his room — began kissing her “open-mouthed.”
“He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast. I pulled back and walked to another part of the room. He then walked up, he grabbed my hand and walked me into the bedroom,” Zervos alleged, adding that after she tried to walk away from Trump, “He put me in an embrace and I tried to push him away. I pushed his chest to put space between us and I said ‘Come on man, get real.’ He repeated my words back to me, ‘Get real’ as he began thrusting his genitals. He tried to kiss me again and with my hand still on his chest I said ‘Dude, you’re trippin’ right now,’ attempting to make it clear that I was not interested.”
In response to Zervos’ story, Trump initially issued a statement to PEOPLE, saying, “I vaguely remember Ms. Zervos as one of the many contestants on The Apprentice over the years. To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago. That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I’ve conducted my life. In fact, Ms. Zervos continued to contact me for help, emailing my office on April 14th of this year asking that I visit her restaurant in California.”
Later, Trump’s campaign released a statement from Zervos’ cousin, who said he was “completely shocked and bewildered” to learn about her allegations.
RELATED VIDEO: Natasha Stoynoff on Donald Trump’s Very Personal Attacks: ‘It’s An Attempt to Silence Women’
“For almost a decade, my cousin would talk about how much she looked up to Mr. Trump and viewed him as an inspiration — a success story she wanted to copy,” John Barry said, adding that he thought that Zervos’ allegations were an “attempt to regain the spotlight at Mr. Trump’s expense.”
Trump said publicly that all of the women alleging him of assault — including former PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff — were lying. He said that the accusations are “all 100 percent, totally and completely fabricated,” and “in just about all cases, nonsense.”
At a rally in Pennsylvania later in October, Trump further said, “All of these liars will be sued after the election is over,” reported CNN.
On Friday, Zervos told reporters, “I want to make it clear that even though it is hard and painful to go up against the world’s most powerful man, I will continue to speak the truth and I refuse to be intimidated into silence.”
She asked Trump to retract his statements calling her and the other accusers “liars,” and rescind his threat to sue them now that the election has ended.
“Until he does retract, I will continue to speak out and tell the truth,” she said. “The truth is always the right option, and will win out in the end.”
Later, as Allred spoke, Zervos interrupted, saying, “What happened to a good old fashioned, ‘I’m sorry?’ ”
Allred said that she and Zervos had “no present intent” to bring a lawsuit against the president-elect. She noted, however, “If in fact he sues the women then it will be my recommendation that they consider filing a lawsuit against him for defamation… a president can be sued for actions or statements made prior to his becoming president of the United States.”