A court arbitrator has ordered former President Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign to pay nearly $1.3 million in legal fees to Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former “Apprentice” star, White House aide and author of the first comprehensive book on the Trump White House.
The award, presented Tuesday, comes to the conclusion of a protracted legal battle after Mr. Trump unsuccessfully sued Ms. Manigault Newman over her book “Unhinged,” alleging she violated a nondisclosure agreement she signed while she was working for his campaign worked in 2016.
Mr Trump lost the arbitration case in September 2021, one in a series of failed attempts to enforce nondisclosure agreements against former employees.
Since the decision, both sides have continued to dispute the price. Mr. Trump’s attorneys argued that Ms. Manigault Newman argued in bad faith and should not receive legal fees. But the arbitrator sided with her, pointing out the high cost of the case.
“Defendant defended itself in a claim that was extensively litigated for more than three years, against an opponent who undoubtedly had much more resources than Defendant,” noted the arbitrator.
A spokesman for Mr Trump did not respond to an email asking for comment.
Ms. Manigault Newman’s lawyers said they were impressed with the amount Mr Trump’s campaign had to pay.
The award “will hopefully send a signal that armed lawsuits will not be tolerated and allow other attorneys to stand up and fight,” said John Phillips, Ms. Manigault Newman’s attorney, who provided a copy of the arbitrator’s ruling. about the allowances.
Ms. Manigault Newman met Mr. Trump in 2004 during the first season of his reality TV show “The Apprentice.” Twelve years later, during his 2016 presidential campaign, she helped skeptical black voters to justice. When he won, she followed him to the White House and was eventually fired from her job.
Her book, published in August 2018, depicted a chaotic White House and was the first of a number of books written by former Trump presidential aides. She has also released audio recordings of her conversations regarding Mr. Trump. In one recording, Mr. Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, appeared to offer Ms. Manigault Newman a campaign contract in exchange for her silence on her criticism of the president and his family.
Mr. Trump, who has often used the courts in litigation, sued Ms. Manigault Newman, and the lawsuit lasted three years.
The legality of such nondisclosure agreements, which Mr Trump has favored as a private businessman for many years, has been a subject of debate before. But their efficacy has been questioned in recent months. In March, Mr. Trump’s campaign was ordered to pay more than $300,000 in legal fees to a former campaign official who said the candidate forcibly kissed her. The campaign sued her for violating the terms of her nondisclosure agreement. The judge in the case called the agreement “vague and unenforceable.”