The U.S. Department of Justice has filed suit against Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former aide to First Lady Melania Trump, alleging that she violated their nondisclosure agreement by penning a tell-all book and publishing it without first allowing the federal government to sign off on the draft.
What are the details?
In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, Justice Department lawyers said Winston Wolkoff, a former aide who fell out with the first lady, failed to submit to government review a draft of her book, “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady,” which offers an unflattering portrayal of President Donald Trump’s wife.
According to the lawsuit, Winston Wolkoff signed a Gratuitous Services Agreement “wherein Ms. Wolkoff promised to maintain strict confidentiality over ‘nonpublic, privileged and/or confidential information’ that she might obtain during her service” as an adviser to the first lady.
Politico reported that the DOJ is asking a federal judge to “divert all proceeds from the sale of Wolkoff’s book, ‘Melania and Me,’ to the federal government, a consequence of her alleged ‘breach of contract.'”
Ms. Wolkoff argues that she has every right to talk about her experiences as a matter of free speech, telling NBC News of her book, “It’s my story. It’s my life. I’ve been gagged for too long.”
“The White House, President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, the Trump administration have been the source of false, misleading and defamatory information about me,” she continued. “I am defending myself against the defamatory falsehoods according to my constitutional rights to defend my reputation and set the record straight.”
The case is reminiscent of when the DOJ sued former national security adviser John Bolton over the summer in an attempt to stop him from publishing his own book divulging his experiences in the Trump administration. In the lawsuit, the federal government argued that Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” would jeopardize national security.
Unlike Wolkoff, Bolton did submit a draft of his book for review by the federal government, but copies were distributed to retailers by Bolton’s publisher prior to receiving the all-clear from authorities.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth agreed to allow Bolton’s book to be published, saying that “the horse, as we used to say in Texas, seems to be out of the barn.”