BOSTON — Lawyers suing President Donald Trump over his decision to end special protections shielding certain immigrants from deportation are seeking unaired footage from his reality TV show “The Apprentice” to try to bolster their case alleging the move was racially motivated, the attorneys said Wednesday.
Lawyers for Civil Rights, which sued Trump in February, has issued subpoenas to MGM Holdings Inc. and Trump Productions LLC demanding any footage shot during the production of the show in which Trump “uses racial and/or ethnic slurs” or “makes remarks concerning race, nationality and/or ethnic background.”
Former White House staffer and fellow reality-TV star Omarosa Manigault Newman claimed without evidence in a book released in August, “Unhinged,” that a tape exists of the president using the N-word on the reality show’s set.
Trump has denied the existence of such tapes, tweeting that the show’s producer told him “there are NO TAPES of the Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word as attributed by Wacky and Deranged Omarosa.”
“I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have,” Trump said.
The case filed in Boston’s federal court centers on the Trump administration’s decision to end temporary protected status for thousands of immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras. Temporary protected status provides safe havens for people from countries experiencing armed conflicts, natural disasters and other challenges.
Lawyers for Civil Rights says in the lawsuit that Trump’s move to rescind the program was rooted in animus against immigrants of color, citing comments he made on the campaign trial and in office.
“Access to these videotapes will help further demonstrate that Defendant Trump holds racially biased views that impact his policy and decision making,” attorney Oren Nimni said in a written statement. The subpoenas also seek any relevant outtakes, audio clips and transcripts made during production of the show.
Emails seeking comment were sent to an MGM lawyer, a Trump Production official and White House officials.
A federal judge in July denied Trump’s request to throw out the lawsuit and rejected the administration’s bid to remove Trump as a defendant in the case.
In a different case in California, another federal judge last month issued a temporary injunction that bars the Trump administration from ending the protections, saying there is evidence that president “harbors an animus against non-white, non-European aliens which influenced his … decision to end the TPS designation.”
The Trump administration is appealing that ruling.
Pressure on producers of the “The Apprentice” to release unaired footage of the show intensified during the 2016 presidential campaign after The Washington Post published a 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording of Trump boasting about aggressively groping women.
MGM, which owns “The Apprentice,” said at the time that it couldn’t unilaterally release any unaired, archived material because of contractual obligations. The show’s producer, Mark Burnett, also said he didn’t have the ability or right to release footage.
A former contestant on “The Apprentice” who has accused Trump of unwanted groping and kissing has also sought footage through a lawsuit against the president, but it’s unclear whether she has received any.
The subpoena issued by Summer Zervos’ attorney in May sought any “Apprentice” material that features Zervos, or Trump talking about her or discussing other female contestants in a sexual or inappropriate way.