Justice Department Defends Melania (By Suing Her Former Friend)

Illustration for article titled Justice Department Defends Melania (By Suing Her Former Friend)
Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP (Getty Images)

On Tuesday, the Justice Department sued Melania Trump’s former senior advisor Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, claiming that her tell-all book about her friendship with Melania broke a non-disclosure agreement that prevented Winston Wolkoff from sharing confidential information she learned during her time working for the First Lady.

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The complaint claims that in 2017, Winston Wolkoff agreed to a “gratuitous services agreement” which contained a confidentiality clause in which she allegedly “promised to maintain strict confidentiality over ‘nonpublic, privileged and/or confidential information’ that she might obtain during her service.” The DOJ argues that the conditions laid out in that agreement had no termination date, and is claiming that her book violated the terms of that deal. They also allege that Winston Wolkoff never submitted a draft of the book to Melania Trump, her chief of staff, or the Office of the White House Counsel and that she “never received authorization to disclose any information she learned pursuant to her work under the Agreement.” On those grounds, the Justice Department has asked the judge to order Winston Wolkoff to surrender any profits from her book to a government trust.

Back in September, Winston Wolkoff claimed that her book actually didn’t break the nondisclosure agreement that the DOJ is now suing her over, saying “I did not break the NDA... I’ve been working with First Amendment lawyers the entire time, pre-publishing lawyers, so this was handled extremely carefully.” She also revealed that she had received a cease-and-desist warning and that both the White House and the Department of Justice had attempted to stop the publication of her book.

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When previously asked to comment on Winston Wolkoff, Melania Trump’s spokesperson said: “Anybody who secretly tapes their self-described best friend is by definition dishonest. The book is full of mistruths and paranoia and clearly based on some imagined need for revenge.”

Welp. I can’t speak to the veracity of the content of Winston Wolkoff’s book, but as her friendship with Melania Trump only appears to have ended after the First Lady fired her and threw her under the bus, it seems fair to say that the book was written in part out of a desire for revenge. But that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not the truth.

Freelance writer who loves sandwiches, astrology, & fighting on the internet.

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DISCUSSION

73vk13
Sandwich Librarian

Are NDA’s the purview of the Justice Department? Seem like it is something that belongs in civil court.

I mean, if she revealed that Melania was discussing the classified aspects of the USS Ford and Wolkoff talked about that, that would be grounds for a DOJ involvement, but if she’s just passing along that FLOTUS said “FUCK CHRISTMAS!” that’s another thing entirely.