The complaint claims that Wolkoff has violated a non-disclosure agreement and demands that the book’s profits be secured in a government trust. He also says that neither the first lady, her chief of staff nor the White House legal counsel’s office received a draft of the book from Wolkoff and that the former adviser never sought permission to disclose the details of her. I work for the first lady.
CNN contacted the Justice Department for comment.
Wolkoff told CNN in a statement that “she will not be deterred by these bullying tactics.”
“The use by the President and First Lady of the United States Department of Justice to silence me is a violation of my First Amendment rights and a blatant abuse of the government to pursue their own personal interests and goals,”
; Wolkoff said. . “I complied with all terms of the free service agreement and the confidentiality provisions ended when the White House terminated the agreement. With the publication of my book,” Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with The First Lady, “I have exercised my right to freedom of expression.”
The deposit was first reported by Reuters.
Wolkoff’s book, “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady,” describes the consequences of Wolkoff’s work and personal relationship with Melania Trump, including the private conversations between the two.
Wolkoff, a former Vogue magazine contributor who oversaw high-dollar events, had known Melania Trump for more than a decade when she was hired to help plan President Donald Trump’s inauguration. She was also Trump’s first hiring for the east wing, acting as the first lady’s senior advisor, writing speeches and helping create what would become the “Be Best” platform. During her time working for the East Wing, Wolkoff was a special government employee, which meant she wasn’t getting paid for her services.
As investigations into inaugural activities unfolded, Wolkoff’s relationship with the first lady was unveiled, driven by the amount of money Wolkoff and his event company would pocket while planning and running the grand opening, according to CNN. .
In his book, Wolkoff describes the grand opening planning as a slap in the face effort, arguing that the incoming president didn’t understand who was behind the event’s organization.
Wolkoff also describes the efforts she and presumably Melania have made to prevent President Ivanka Trump’s daughter from appearing in photos of the president’s swearing-in ceremony.
Wolkoff also secretly recorded a recording with the first lady, in which Melania Trump expresses frustration over criticism of the Trump administration’s migrant family separation policy.
The East Wing has already claimed that Wolkoff has violated the NDA. After the recording was made public in the press, the first lady’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement: “Secretly registering the first lady and intentionally breaking an NDA to publish a salacious book is a clear attempt at relevance. “.
This isn’t the first time the Justice Department has been targeting former Trump staff members who publish books about their working time in the White House.
The department is suing to prevent the publication of John Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” about his tenure as National Security Advisor to the White House under President Trump.
In 2016, Melania Trump sued the Daily Mail for making false claims about her work as a professional model. In April 2017, the publisher apologized to Trump and agreed to pay $ 2.9 million in damages in a deal.
CNN’s Kate Bennett, Caroline Kelly, and Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.