Trump Sues Journalist Bob Woodward for Releasing Interview Recordings

(Bloomberg) — Former President Donald Trump is suing journalist Bob Woodward for releasing recordings of interviews that he gave to the journalist in 2019 and 2020, claiming he by no means agreed to these tapes being shared with the general public.

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In a lawsuit filed Monday in opposition to Woodward, Simon & Schuster Inc., and the writer’s guardian firm Paramount International, Trump claimed that though he had given Woodward consent to file their conversations “for the only function of a ebook,” that didn’t lengthen to packaging these recordings as an audiobook.

“This case facilities on Mr. Woodward’s systematic usurpation, manipulation, and exploitation of audio of President Trump,” Trump’s legal professionals wrote.

The grievance alleges violations of Trump’s copyright pursuits and accuses Woodward and the writer of unjustly cashing in on the tapes. Trump is looking for just below $50 million in damages, a determine his legal professionals calculated assuming Woodward would promote two million copies of the audiobook at a obtain value of $24.99.

“Former President Trump’s lawsuit is with out benefit and we are going to aggressively defend in opposition to it. All these interviews have been on the file and recorded with President Trump’s information and settlement. Furthermore, it’s within the public curiosity to have this historic file in Trump’s personal phrases. We’re assured that the info and the regulation are in our favor,” Simon & Schuster stated in a joint emailed assertion with Woodward.

Trump participated in 19 interviews in-person or by cellphone with Woodward between December 2019 and August 2020, in addition to in 2016 when he was nonetheless a candidate, in keeping with the grievance. Woodward’s ebook, Rage, was revealed a month after the final interview. In October 2022, Simon & Schuster launched the audiobook of the recordings, The Trump Tapes.

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‘Accomplished Voluntarily’

The case additionally accuses Woodward of misrepresenting a minimum of one in all their exchanges within the audiobook by modifying out parts of the total interview. Trump had publicly complained concerning the recordings earlier than, posting on his Reality Social platform shortly after the audiobook got here out that he had by no means given Woodward permission. The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist addressed the declare on the time, telling CNN that “they have been achieved voluntarily” and “it was all on the file.”

Trump’s attorneys, Robert Garson and Yanina Zilberman, filed the case within the Pensacola division of the US District Court docket for the Northern District of Florida. Trump, whose Mar-a-Lago property is in Palm Seaside County, has usually filed lawsuits in his residence courtroom, the Southern District of Florida. He’s claiming jurisdiction in Pensacola as a result of he’s a Florida resident and the defendants typically do enterprise there.

The Pensacola division’s three judges who deal with civil instances are all Republican nominees – T. Kent Wetherell II, who was nominated by Trump; M. Casey Rodgers, confirmed below former President George W. Bush; and Senior Choose Roger Vinson, who was nominated by former President Ronald Reagan and takes a smaller caseload.

The case was assigned to Vinson.

Monitor Report

Trump has an extended monitor file of going to courtroom over media protection and commentary he doesn’t like. He has a pending $475 million defamation lawsuit in opposition to CNN over how he’s been characterised in community broadcasts. A federal decide in Florida hasn’t dominated but on CNN’s movement to dismiss the case.

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In 2020, his marketing campaign filed libel fits in opposition to the Washington Publish, New York Instances, and CNN over opinion items associated to the Russia investigation. A decide has but to rule on the Publish’s movement to dismiss, the latter two have been tossed out by judges in New York and Georgia. A case he filed in opposition to the Instances and his niece Mary Trump over reporting on his taxes is pending.

Earlier than he grew to become president, Trump misplaced a defamation case in opposition to journalist Timothy O’Brien, who’s now senior government editor at Bloomberg Opinion, over a 2005 biography that described him as a millionaire, not a billionaire. Separate from the instances that truly ended up in courtroom, the Columbia Journalism Assessment supplied an exhaustive catalog of situations when Trump or his legal professionals had threatened journalists and information retailers.

The swimsuit comes as Trump mounts a 2024 White Home comeback bid. This previous weekend, he visited early main voting states New Hampshire and South Carolina as he seeks to shore up GOP help.

The swimsuit alleges that Trump has been “harmed” by the recordings. A few of the recordings talk about matters together with Trump’s correspondence with North Korea Chief Kim Jong Un and likewise his dealing with of the Covid-19 pandemic in its early days.

The case is Donald J. Trump v. Simon & Schuster et al., 3:23-cv-02333, US District Court docket, Northern District of Florida (Pensacola).

(Updates with Woodward, Simon & Schuster assertion in fifth paragraph)

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