WASHINGTON — Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Omarosa Manigault Newman’s book, says through its attorney that a “hollow legal threat” from the Trump campaign “is nothing more than an obvious attempt to stifle legitimate criticism of the president.”
“My clients will not be intimidated by hollow legal threats and have proceeded with the publication of the book as scheduled,” wrote Elizabeth McNamara of Davis Wright Tremaine, which is representing Simon & Schuster and its imprint, Gallery Books.
She was responding to a letter from attorney Charles Harder on behalf of the Trump campaign, which has taken some legal steps against Newman in the wake of the book’s publication, claiming that she is breaking a non-disclosure agreement.
Harder did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but McNamara writes that he threatened Simon & Schuster with “substantial monetary damages and punitive damages” with the book’s publication. Harder alleges that the publisher would be liable for tortious interference with contract and inducement of breach of contract.
“Mr. Trump is the President of the United States, with a ‘bully pulpit’ at his disposal,” McNamara wrote. “To the extent that he disputes any statements in the book, he has the largest platform in the world to challenge them.”
Simon & Schuster made the letter public and also issued a statement. “Despite various legal claims and threats made by representatives of the Trump campaign, Gallery Books and Simon & Schuster are proceeding as planned with publication of ‘Unhinged’ by Omarosa Manigault Newman, confident that we are acting well within our rights and responsibilities as a publisher.”
McNamara also noted that the publisher was not a party to Newman’s non-disclosure agreement, and that she shared her story “freely” with Simon & Schuster and shopped her book proposal to a number of publishing houses.
“Private contracts like the NDA may not be used to censor former or current government officials from speaking about non-classified information learned during the course of their public employment,” she wrote, citing case law.
She also said that Simon & Schuster would preserve documents related to the book but noted that “we want to remind you that the Trump campaign must comply with the same legal obligations regarding the President, his administration, his family members, their businesses, and the Trump Campaign, and must ensure that all appropriate measures to preserve such documents are in place.”
Harder also represented Trump in issuing a legal threat against Michael Wolff and Henry Holt & Co. at the time of the publication of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.” The publisher also rejected that legal threat, and no lawsuit was ever filed.