Politics

Trump Campaign Targets Omarosa Manigault Newman Over Tell-All Book

The Trump campaign claims that former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman violated an agreement she signed not to disparage Trump or disclose proprietary information.
The Trump campaign claims that former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman violated an agreement she signed not to disparage Trump or disclose proprietary information.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

President Trump's campaign arm has filed a complaint with an arbitrator, accusing former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman of violating a 2016 confidentiality agreement with her tell-all book and publicity tour.

In her book, Unhinged, and the accompanying tour, Manigault Newman has been harshly critical of the president, calling Trump a racist and suggesting that he suffers from dementia.

The president launched a volley of angry tweets in response, describing his former aide as a "crazed, crying lowlife," and "that dog."

Now, the Trump campaign is taking legal action.

"Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. has filed an arbitration against Omarosa Manigault Newman," said a campaign official in a statement. The claim accuses the former staffer of violating an agreement she signed before joining the 2016 campaign, in which she reportedly promised not to disparage Trump or disclose proprietary information.

The campaign did not elaborate on the nature of the alleged violation.

But Manigault-Newman was defiant, telling the Associated Press on Tuesday, "I will not be silenced."

The reality TV star, who became famous while appearing alongside Trump on The Apprentice TV show, later made secret recordings of the president and others. She has shared some of those tapes during her book tour.

She also accused Trump of using a racial slur during production of The Apprentice, a charge that initially surfaced during the 2016 campaign.

Trump has denied that claim, citing a conversation he had with Apprentice creator Mark Burnett.

Burnett "called to say that there are NO TAPES of the Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word as attributed by Wacky and Deranged Omarosa," Trump tweeted Monday night. "I don't have that word in my vocabulary and never have. She made it up."

Manigault-Newman pointed to Trump's derogatory comments about her on Twitter.

"If he would say that publicly, what else would he say about me privately?" she asked during an interview with MSNBC. "He has absolutely no respect for women."

Manigault-Newman's attorney, John Phillips, said he had not yet seen the Trump campaign's arbitration action.

"At this time, we haven't seen any legal action and don't have a comment on it," said John Phillips. "Her legal team will address these matters appropriately when they arise."

Trump had a long history in his business and political career of using non-disclosure agreements to protect secrets and keep subordinates quiet. He successfully sued a Miss Universe contestant for $5 million in 2013 for publicly complaining that the beauty pageant was rigged.

Through attorney Michael Cohen, Trump also sought to silence adult film actress Stephanie Clifford. Cohen paid Clifford $130,000 to keep quiet about a sexual encounter she claimed to have have had with Trump. (Clifford has since argued that agreement was non-binding.)

Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that Trump sought confidentiality agreements from senior White House staffers. The newspaper cited a draft agreement which included a $10 million penalty for violators. A White House spokesman disputed the dollar figure but otherwise declined to comment.

On Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders refused to say whether she or other administration staffers had signed non-disclosure agreements, though she insisted such agreements are not unusual.

"I can tell you that it's common in a lot of places for employees to sign NDAs including in government, particularly anyone with a security clearance," Sanders said.

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