Trump sues Bob Woodward for releasing audio of their interviews
By David Goldman, CNN
Former President Donald Trump has sued journalist Bob Woodward for copyright violations, claiming Woodward released audio from their interviews without Trump’s consent.
The former president has a long history of filing lawsuits that ultimately get tossed out of court. Woodward and the publisher Simon & Schuster said Trump’s case is without merit.
Woodward conducted several interviews with Trump for “Rage,” the author’s second book on the former president that hit bookstores in September 2020. Woodward later released “The Trump Tapes,” an audiobook featuring eight hours of raw interviews with Trump interspersed with the author’s commentary. That book, which went on sale October 25, 2022, contains the 20 interviews Woodward conducted with Trump from 2016 through 2020, including those for “Rage.”
But Trump, in the lawsuit filed Monday in the Northern District of Florida, claims he did not give Woodward permission to release the audio of the interviews.
“President Trump told Woodward numerous times that the Interviews were to be used by Woodward — and Woodward only — for the sole purpose of accurately quoting President Trump for the ‘written word,’ i.e., ‘Rage,’ and not for any other purpose, including providing, marketing, or selling the Interviews to the public, press, or the media, in any way, shape, or form,” the lawsuit states.
Trump, who also sued Simon & Schuster and parent company Paramount, is seeking nearly $50 million in damages. The lawsuit claims the audio was “protected material, subject to various limitations on use and distribution.”
Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that Trump and his attorneys were liable for nearly $1 million in sanctions for a lawsuit Trump brought against Hillary Clinton and several others alleging they conspired against him in the 2016 campaign.
In that case, US District Judge Donald Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida wrote that Trump has demonstrated a “pattern of misusing the courts to serve political purposes” as he ticked through several other failed lawsuits Trump has brought in recent years.
“Frivolous lawsuits should not be used as a vehicle for fundraising or fodder for rallies or social media,” Middlebrooks wrote. “Mr. Trump is using the courts as a stage set for political theater and grievance. This behavior interferes with the ability of the judiciary to perform its constitutional duty.”
Trump has similarly sued multiple media companies, including CNN, for reports that he has viewed as unfavorable or disparaging.
In his lawsuit against Woodward, Trump claims that the author “decided to exploit, usurp, and capitalize upon President Trump’s voice by releasing the interview sound recordings of their interviews,” because “President Trump’s voice is one of the most recognizable voices in the world.”
“Former President Trump’s lawsuit is without merit and we will aggressively defend against it,” Woodward and Simon & Schuster said in a joint statement on Tuesday. “All these interviews were on the record and recorded with President Trump’s knowledge and agreement.”
Woodward and the publisher said the audiobook is in the public’s interest because it serves as a historical record of Trump’s own words.
“We are confident that the facts and the law are in our favor,” they said.
This story has been updated with additional reaction.
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