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‘Melania and Me’ author sued by U.S. for breaching contract

Edvard Pettersson
Bloomberg

A former adviser to Melania Trump who wrote a tell-all book about the First Lady was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for breaching an agreement not to disclose confidential information.

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, the author of “Melania and Me,” violated an agreement she signed in 2017 while working as an aide to President Donald Trump’s wife, the U.S. government said in a complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Washington.

First Lady Melania Trump waits for the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio.

“Ms. Wolkoff never submitted a draft of the book to the First Lady, her Chief of Staff, or the Office of White House Counsel and never received authorization to disclose any information she learned pursuant to her work under the agreement,” the Justice Department said in the complaint.

The government previously sued over a memoir by former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who portrayed the president as ignorant and incurious about U.S. foreign policy except where he sees the potential for personal political gain. Trump has also sued other former aides, including Omarosa Manigault-Newman, a onetime contestant on his reality TV show.

“Melania and Me” was published last month by Simon & Schuster, and the government is asking that any profits from the book be set aside in a trust.

Lorin Reisner, an attorney listed on the complaint as representing Wolkoff, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

In the book, Wolkoff described her work as a “longtime friend” and “trusted adviser” of Melania Trump. Wolkoff said she provided guidance on policy initiatives, speeches and social media. The nonpublic information in the book included policy discussions involving Trump’s travel ban, White House hiring decisions and Melania Trump’s “Be Best” initiative.

Wolkoff also claims she discussed with Melania Trump the president’s decision to eliminate a ban on the importation of big game trophies. According to the complaint, the First Lady convinced her husband to put that decision on hold. The president announced he’d put it on hold in a tweet on Nov. 17, 2017. In 2018, the U.S. allowed big game hunters to resume imports of elephant tusks and other animal parts.