According to the Justice Department, writer Stephanie Winston Wolkoff broke the terms of a nondisclosure agreement – and shouldn't be receiving any of the profits from her book.
The Justice Department has filed an unprecedented lawsuit against Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend and advisor to First Lady Melania Trump.
According to CNN, prosecutors allege Wolkoff breached a confidentiality agreement by publishing a "tell-all" book about Melania Trump and the White House. The lawsuit states that Wolkoff never received permission from the First Lady or any White House official to publish a book, nor did she submit a draft for approval prior to publication.
While the Justice Department hadn't responded to CNN's request for comment by the end of the working week, Wolkoff and her officials have described the federal government's case as "intimidation."
"The President and First Lady 's use of the US Department of Justice to silence me is a violation of my First Amendment rights and an obvious abuse by the government to pursue their own personal interests and goals," Wolkoff said in a statement. “I met all of the terms of the free service contract, and the confidentiality provisions ended when the White House canceled the contract. With the publication of my book, Melania and I: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady, I exercised my right to freedom of expression.
The White House. Image via Wikimedia Commons / User: AgnosticPreachersKid. (CCA-BY-3.0).
Wolkoff's book, CNN says, describes her relationship with Melania Trump; it also contains excerpts from private conversations between the two.
However, Melania Trump has made some efforts to distance herself from Wolkoff, even saying that she "barely knew" the woman.
NBC News notes that Trump described her longtime friend "as a person who said she" made me "when she barely knew me and as someone who clung to me after my husband won the presidency. This is a woman who secretly recorded our phone calls, shared parts of me that were unrelated, and then wrote a book of idle gossip to distort my character. "
"Melania and I," NBC adds, "is full of embarrassing episodes involving the first lady." In a conversation, for example, Melania Trump allegedly mocked “Princess” Ivanka Trump; In another case, she downplayed the impact of President Donald Trump's policies on family separation on the South Africa-Mexico border.
Melania Trump was also taped complaining about decorating the White House, asking, "Who gives a shit about the Christmas things and decorations?"
In her defense, Wolkoff said she felt she had no choice but to take in Melania after feeling threatened by the Trump administration.
"Melania and the White House accused me of criminal activity and publicly embarrassed me and fired me and made me their scapegoat," she said. "At that moment, I pressed the record button. She was no longer my friend."
While the Justice Department cannot force Wolkoff's book out of publication, prosecutors are demanding that all profits Wolkoff receives be diverted and secured to a state trust.
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