Oct 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

DOJ sues former Melania Trump aide over tell-all book

Melania Trump.

First lady Melania Trump. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Tuesday sued a former aide to first lady Melania Trump, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, saying she violated a nondisclosure agreement when she published her tell-all book "Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady," Politico reports.

The big picture: This is not the first time the DOJ has sued in response to a revealing book about the Trump administration. The department filed suit against former national security adviser John Bolton in June to prevent the release of his memoir "The Room Where it Happened."

  • The latest lawsuit "reignited fears among some outside legal experts that the Justice Department was training its resources at the White House's perceived enemies," Politico writes.

The DOJ alleges Wolkoff, who served as senior adviser to the first lady from January 2017 to August 2017, signed an agreement that "included no termination date."

  • Lawyers for the former aide told The Daily Beast in September that she has not been bound to the agreement for more than two years. They called the DOJ's allegations "unfounded and meritless."

What they're saying: The book discusses "personnel decisions in the Office of the First Lady, work on the First Lady’s 'Be Best' initiative, and engagement in conversations with the President of the United States," DOJ lawyers say.

  • "These topics fall squarely within the category of materials that, under the terms of the Agreement, Ms. Wolkoff expressly agreed not to divulge without obtaining written authorization."
  • "The United States seeks to hold Ms. Wolkoff to her contractual and fiduciary obligations and to ensure that she is not unjustly enriched by her breach of the duties she freely assumed when she served as an advisor to the First Lady."
  • The DOJ asked the court to redirect any profits from the book to the federal government.
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