A New York arbitrator said former President Donald Trump’s non-disclosure agreement against his ex-White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman is “unenforceable” in a ruling handed down on Monday.
Arbitrator T. Andrew Brown said in the ruling that the terms of Trump’s non-disclosure agreement were “highly problematic” because it did not adhere to typical legal standards, describing it as “vague, indefinite, and therefore void and unenforceable.”
“The Agreement effectively imposes on [Manigault Newman] an obligation to never say anything remotely critical of Mr. Trump, his family or his or his family members’ businesses for the rest of her life,” Brown said in the ruling.
Manigault Newman and her lawyer both released statements celebrating the decision Tuesday.
“Clearly, I am very happy with this ruling,” Manigault Newman said. “Donald has used this type of vexatious litigation to intimidate, harass and bully for years! Finally the bully has met his match!”
John Phillips, her lawyer, said in a statement that he hopes it encourages more people to “come forward and blow the whistle on corrupt government.”
“It’s over. We’ve won in Donald Trump and the Trump Campaign’s chosen forum,” he said.
Trump’s campaign filed an arbitration complaint with the American Arbitration Association in New York City against Manigault Newman in 2018, alleging that the former top White House aide was in breach of a 2016 confidentiality agreement.
The action was related to claims made by Manigault Newman in her 2018 book, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House,” in which she called the president a racist and suggested he was in severe mental decline.
Trump hosted the reality television show “The Apprentice” and its spinoff, “The Celebrity Apprentice,” both of which aired on NBC, from 2004 to 2015 before running for president. “Celebrity Apprentice” was produced and owned by MGM.
Newman was a three-time contestant on the show and over time became a close confidant of Trump before supporting him for president and following him to the White House. During his campaign, she was one of his most prominent black supporters. However, their relationship soured during her time in the administration, and she was reportedly forced out in 2017, although Manigault Newman has insisted that she left on her own terms.
In her book, Manigault Newman wrote that she had not signed a non-disclosure agreement for her work in the White House. She asserted in the book that within 24 hours of her departure, Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, emailed her a contract to work on the president’s re-election campaign for $15,000 per month, in exchange for signing a nondisclosure agreement that was “as harsh and restrictive as any I’d seen in all my years of television.”
However, Brown said given how vaguely the NDA was written there would be no way for her to know whether she was in breach of the contract.
“The statements do not disclose hard data such as internal polling results or donor financial information,” Brown wrote. “Rather, they are for the most part simply expressions of unflattering opinions, which are deemed ‘confidential information’ based solely upon the designation of Mr. Trump. This is exactly the kind of indefiniteness which New York courts do not allow to form the terms of a binding contract.”
Brown said Trump’s campaign would have to pay Manigault Newman’s legal fees.Internet Explorer Channel Network