Stephanie Winston Wolkoff who was reportedly close friends with Melania Trump for years utilized her relationship with the famous first lady to write a “tell all” book, released in September. On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced a lawsuit against the author claiming Wolkoff broke nondisclosure agreements and revealed confidential information.
The lawsuit was brought in federal court in Washington, D.C., and asks for a judge to order Wolkoff to “surrender any profits from her book” to a government trust, reported CNBC. The Justice Department says Wolkoff’s book, “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady” is a “flat violation” of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary obligations to the first lady.
Wolkoff served as a volunteer advisor to the first lady in 2017 once she moved into the White House with her husband, President Trump. Wolkoff defended her book on ABC’s “The View” last month saying “I did not break the NDA” referring to the nondisclosure agreement. “I’ve been working with First Amendment lawyers the entire time, pre-publishing lawyers, so this was handled extremely carefully,” she said.
CNBC reported, “the suit says Winston Wolkoff never submitted a draft of the book to Melania Trump, her chief of staff, or to the Office of the White House Counsel and ‘never received authorization to disclose any information she learned pursuant to her work under the Agreement.”
Primarily, the complaint claims Wolkoff agreed in 2017 to a gratuitous services agreement, which contained a confidentiality clause. That clause stated Wolkoff “promised to maintain strict confidentiality over ‘nonpublic, privileged and/or confidential information’ that she might obtain during her service.”
Wolkoff had access “to significant confidential information related to the First Lady’s official duties as well as to more private aspects of her role in the First Family” according to the suit. Her “indirect access to deliberative information, to which the First Lady was privy, related to the President’s official duties on behalf of the country.”