Updated Jan 30, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump sues Bob Woodward for releasing interview recordings

ormer U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks at the South Carolina State House on January 28, 2023 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Former President Trump at the South Carolina State House on Jan. 28. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Trump on Monday filed a lawsuit against journalist Bob Woodward for $49 million, alleging that recordings of interviews the pair did were released "without President Trump's permission."

The latest: Woodward and lawsuit co-defendant Simon & Schuster, publisher of his book "Rage," in a joint statement called Trump's suit "without merit" and vowed to "aggressively defend against it."

The big picture: The legal action is the latest in a number of suits filed by the former president against journalists and other news outlets.

Driving the news: "This case centers on Mr. Woodward’s systematic usurpation, manipulation, and exploitation of audio of President Trump gathered in connection with a series of interviews conducted by Mr. Woodward," the lawsuit says.

  • Paramount Global is also named in the lawsuit, which claims that Trump consented to Woodward recording conversations "for the sole purpose of a book," but did not grant permission to use those recordings for an audiobook.

The big picture: Woodward's book "Rage," published in 2020, included a series of reports on Trump, including that the former president purposefully played down the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The journalist participated in more than a dozen interviews with Trump from 2019 through 2020, per the suit.
  • Woodward released an audiobook of the recorded interviews, called "The Trump Tapes," in Oct. 2022.
  • "Paramount, [Simon & Schuster] and Woodward proceeded with such publication despite knowing that President Trump had consented to being recorded only for the purposes of "the book," ... and never consented to release of any audio recording, inclusive of the Interview Sound Recordings," per the suit.

What they're saying: "All these interviews were on the record and recorded with President Trump's knowledge and agreement," Woodward and Simon & Schuster said in their statement.

  • "Moreover, it is in the public interest to have this historical record in Trump’s own words. We are confident that the facts and the law are in our favor," the statement added.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from journalist Bob Woodward and publisher Simon & Schuster.

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