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.

Most Learn from Bloomberg

In a lawsuit filed Monday towards Woodward, Simon & Schuster Inc., and the writer’s father or mother firm Paramount World, Trump claimed that though he had given Woodward consent to file their conversations “for the only function of a e book,” that didn’t prolong 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 attorneys wrote.

The grievance alleges violations of Trump’s copyright pursuits and accuses Woodward and the writer of unjustly taking advantage of the tapes. Trump is looking for just below $50 million in damages, a determine his attorneys 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’ll aggressively defend towards it. All these interviews have been on the file and recorded with President Trump’s data and settlement. Furthermore, it’s within the public curiosity to have this historic file in Trump’s personal phrases. We’re assured that the details and the legislation are in our favor,” Simon & Schuster mentioned 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 response to the grievance. Woodward’s e book, Rage, was revealed a month after the final interview. In October 2022, Simon & Schuster launched the audiobook of the recordings, The Trump Tapes.

‘Executed Voluntarily’

The case additionally accuses Woodward of misrepresenting at the very least considered one of 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 Fact 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 executed 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 Courtroom for the Northern District of Florida. Trump, whose Mar-a-Lago property is in Palm Seashore County, has usually filed lawsuits in his house court docket, the Southern District of Florida. He’s claiming jurisdiction in Pensacola as a result of he’s a Florida resident and the defendants usually do enterprise there.

The Pensacola division’s three judges who deal with civil circumstances 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.

Observe Document

Trump has an extended observe file of going to court docket over media protection and commentary he doesn’t like. He has a pending $475 million defamation lawsuit towards 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.

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

Earlier than he turned president, Trump misplaced a defamation case towards journalist Timothy O’Brien, who’s now senior govt editor at Bloomberg Opinion, over a 2005 biography that described him as a millionaire, not a billionaire. Separate from the circumstances that really ended up in court docket, the Columbia Journalism Evaluation provided an exhaustive catalog of cases when Trump or his attorneys had threatened journalists and information shops.

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 assist.

The swimsuit alleges that Trump has been “harmed” by the recordings. A number of the recordings focus on subjects together with Trump’s correspondence with North Korea Chief Kim Jong Un and in addition 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 Courtroom, Northern District of Florida (Pensacola).

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

Most Learn from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.