Former White House communications aide Cliff Sims, who made headlines with his tell-all book Team of Vipers, is suing President Donald Trump, claiming the president uses his campaign organization to punish former employees for exercising free speech. According to Sims" lawsuit, the campaign later filed a demand for arbitration that seeks monetary damages, the return of materials from his tenure, and from making "disparaging statements" or "commenting further regarding "confidential' information derived from his time in the White House".
Last year, former senior adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman claimed in her own tell-all book that the Trump campaign had offered her a $15,000-a-month job in exchange for signing an NDA that would have barred her from disclosing details of her time at the White House. But those agreements are widely seen as likely unenforceable. He does admit that he signed an NDA for the campaign.
The chief operating officer of the Trump campaign tweeted in late January that it was "preparing to file suit against Cliff Sims for violating our NDA". Spicer's book was spared the enforcement of nondisclosure agreements.
Mark Zaid, Sims' attorney, argues in the lawsuit, "The U.S. Government is intentionally and unconstitutionally engaging in a subterfuge effort to use a private entity, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., to do its bidding to silence Mr. Sims when it is really the intense powers of the Presidency coming down upon a sole individual".
"I wanted to stand up and say that I'm not going to be pushed into a corner, I'm not going to be bullied on this and stand up for myself", Sims said.
"He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer", Trump said in the tweet. He signed a nondisclosure agreement.
At issue is whether using Trump's campaign organization (a nongovernment organization) in place of Trump (a government official) to punish Sims is a tactical ploy created to skirt Sims' First Amendment rights.
"Recent attempts to selectively prevent former government employees from speaking and writing about their experience as public servants call for our scrutiny, and illustrate how essential the First Amendment is to the preservation of democracy", the publisher wrote.
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