THE BATTLE CONTINUES: Facing a lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department claiming that she broke a nondisclosure agreement by writing a book about First Lady Melania Trump, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff has responded.
In a statement issued this morning, Wolkoff said, “The President and the First Lady’s use of the U.S. 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. I fulfilled all of the terms of the Gratuitous 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 free expression. I will not be deterred by these bullying tactics.”
A former unofficial senior adviser to FLOTUS, Wolkoff published a tell-all book about her time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue last month. The First Lady’s spokeswoman has previously described the book as “full of mistruths and paranoia” and “based on some imagined need for revenge.”
The lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., reportedly asks a judge to surrender any profits from her book “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship With the First Lady” to a government trust.
FLOTUS’ spokeswoman directed a request for comment this morning to a Department of Justice spokeswoman, who said, “This is a contract with the United States and therefore enforceable by the United States.”
In addition to her written accounts of several negative experience working with the FLOTUS and members of the Trump administration, Wolkoff recently released a few audio clips of conversations with the First Lady that had been secretly recorded. The former friends last communicated via text in January 2019, according to Wolkoff.
Wolkoff, a New York-based fashion industry executive who befriended Trump during her tenure at Vogue, helped organize multiple inaugural events and later temporarily held an unofficial role in the East Wing. The Gallery Books-published tome, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, landed at the top of the New York Times bestseller list one week last month.
In a recent interview with WWD, Wolkoff said she has cooperated with three investigations into the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee, one led by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, a lawsuit filed by the U.S. attorney general Karl A. Racine and a third conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A Gallery Books spokeswoman did not respond immediately to a request for comment.