Justice Department Sues Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Former Adviser To Melania Trump, For Disclosures In Tell-All Book
On Tuesday, the Justice Department sued former advisor to First Lady Melania Trump, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, for breaching a nondisclosure agreement when she published a tell-all about her experiences in the White House.
“The President and First Lady’s use of the U.S. Department of Justice to silence me is a violation of my First Amendment rights and a blatant abuse of the government to pursue their own personal interest and goals,” wrote Winston Wolkoff in a statement. “I fulfilled all of the terms of the Gratuitous Service Agreement and the confidentiality provisions ended when the White House terminated agreement. With the publication of my book ‘Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady,’ I have exercised my right to free expression. I will not be deterred by these bullying tactics.”
The lawsuit asks for Winston Wolkoff’s earnings from the book to be turned over to the federal government as part of her consequences for breaching her contract with the First Lady and the government. According to government lawyers, the nondisclosure agreement clearly stated that she would not be allowed to disclose information to the public about her time in the White House well after her departure.
“The book, however, discusses in detail Ms. Wolkoff’s work under the Agreement as an advisor to the First Lady, including involvement in 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,” layers from the Justice Department shared. “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.
“Such accounts purporting to disclose internal policy deliberations undermine the expectation of future Presidents and First Ladies that their confidential deliberations will be protected and preserved from the public glare. The President’s policy conversations are self-evidently core matters on which the President is entitled to receive confidential advice without fear that such internal deliberations will be leaked to the press.”
This lawsuit is not the first attempt by the Justice Department to side with members of the Trump family in disputes with their former aides. Most recently, the DOJ launched a lawsuit against former national security adviser John Bolton for his publication of The Room Where it Happened, which contained information about national security matters that Bolton was allegedly not legally allowed to share with the public.