Then U.S. President Donald Trump listens to Director of Communications for the White House Public Liaison Office Omarosa Manigault during an event in the Oval Office of the White House October 24, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong | Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump soundly lost a battle to enforce a nondisclosure agreement with former “Apprentice” contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman over a scathing tell-all book she wrote about her stint as a White House advisor, according to an arbitrator’s decision released by her lawyer Tuesday.
The arbitrator, T. Andrew Brown, agreed with Manigault Newman’s argument that the confidentiality agreement she signed while working for Trump’s 2016 campaign is “invalid under New York contract law.”
Brown wrote that the terms of the NDA “pertaining to confidential information and non-disparagement are vague and unenforceable.”
The ruling granting Manigault Newman’s summary judgment request came more than three years after Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign filed a complaint with the American Arbitration Association in New York City, claiming she breached the NDA with the contents of her book “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House.”
Manigault Newman previously gained widespread notoriety for her role as a villain-esque contestant on the first season of Trump’s former reality television show “The Apprentice.”
The ruling, dated Friday, was first reported by The New York Times. Arbitration decisions are private and as a rule can only be disclosed by participants in a dispute.
Omarosa Manigault Newman holding court decision in Trump N.D.A. case.
Source: Phillips and Hunt
“So finally someone has beat him at his own game and in his own forum,” John Phillips, Manigault Newman’s attorney, said of Trump in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday.
The attorney said he believes the ruling in this case sets the stage for more people to challenge similar “legally unenforceable” agreements they signed while working for Trump.
“I think that does it for all of them,” Phillips said. “I hope people who have these NDAs … read these opinions and realize they shouldn’t be so worried.”
Trump is well-known for his extensive use of NDAs, the enforcement of which can be litigated outside courtrooms, where hearings and legal filings are routinely made public.
Other former Trump staffers have filed legal challenges to confidentiality agreements they signed. Brown’s ruling pointed to former Trump campaign aide Jessica Denson, who in 2018 sued in federal court to void her own NDA. In March, the judge in that case ruled that the confidentiality and nondisparagement provisions in that agreement were unenforceable.
Phillips in a subsequent email said, “As a lawyer, this was an unimaginable case — a United States President abusing the Constitution and Bill of Rights with outrageously unenforceable non-disclosure agreements.”
“Since Omarosa came forward, and was sued, we’ve said this agreement was illegal and offensive. It took too long to finally get past the frivolous defenses, experts and lawyers like Charles Harder billing the Campaign millions of dollars while free speech was stigmatized,” Phillips said.
Trump lashed out at Manigault Newman in a statement after the ruling was made public.
“I gave Omarosa three attempts at The Apprentice and she failed,” he said. He also said her time at the White House was a failure. “At least now I don’t have to let her fail anymore,” he added.
“Nobody in her life has done more for Omarosa than a man named Donald Trump. Unfortunately, like certain others, she forgot all about that — which is fine with me!” Trump said.