Ex-Trump campaign worker files lawsuit to kill non-disclosure pacts
A former campaign worker for President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking to invalidate all of the non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements that campaign workers were required to sign before joining the president’s 2016 election campaign.
If the suit is successful, more campaign workers could feel free to speak publicly about the inner workings of the 2016 campaign apparatus, which has been the subject of immense public scrutiny after accusations that top campaign aides sought to work with Russia to influence the outcome of the election.
Jessica Denson has already attempted to sue the Trump campaign once before, over alleged gender discrimination. The new challenge, filed with the American Arbitration Association, seeks class action status and may be open to all former and current campaign employees.
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment about the suit from Denson, who was a phone bank and outreach organizer in the 2016 campaign.
Denson’s attorney David Bowles told Reuters his client is asking to invalidate all of the agreements, “because they are wrong, and because they are sloppy.”
He added, that the agreements “are retaliatory, unconscionable and … suppress the free speech of campaign workers. They are sloppy because they would fail as a first-year law student drafting assignment.”
The complaint alleges that the campaign only sought to enforce Denson’s non-disclosure agreement because she filed a gender discrimination suit, which would be retaliation. Successful enforcement of the agreement could result in the former campaign worker being forced to pay large fines to the campaign.
The non-disclosure agreements have already been contested. Earlier this month, Cliff Simms, a former White House employee who wrote a book about his time working in the administration, filed suit after the Trump campaign tried to enforce the non-disclosure agreement he had signed.
The Trump campaign also sought to enforce a non-disclosure agreement last year when former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman penned a book about her time inside the administration.
Anyone who worked for the campaign and then entered the government or remained in the private sector could face “grievous financial penalty” for simply “criticizing the sitting President of the United States,” the complaint says.
Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Tom Brown