- Suit seeks $49 million in damages, alleges copyright violation
- Trump has a track record of suing reporters and news outlets
Former President Donald Trump is suing journalist Bob Woodward for releasing recordings of interviews that he gave to the journalist in 2019 and 2020, claiming he never agreed to those tapes being shared with the public.
In a lawsuit filed Monday against Woodward, Simon & Schuster Inc., and the publisher’s parent company Paramount Global, Trump claimed that although he had given Woodward consent to record their conversations “for the sole purpose of a book,” that didn’t extend to packaging those recordings as an audiobook.
“This case centers on Mr. Woodward’s systematic usurpation, manipulation, and exploitation of audio of President Trump,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.
The complaint alleges violations of Trump’s copyright interests and accuses Woodward and the publisher of unjustly profiting from the tapes. Trump is seeking just under $50 million in damages, a figure his lawyers calculated assuming Woodward would sell two million copies of the audiobook at a download price of $24.99.
“Former President Trump’s lawsuit is without merit and we will aggressively defend against it. All these interviews were on the record and recorded with President Trump’s knowledge and agreement. Moreover, it is in the public interest to have this historical record in Trump’s own words. We are confident that the facts and the law are in our favor,” Simon & Schuster said in a joint emailed statement with Woodward.
Trump participated in 19 interviews in-person or by phone with Woodward between December 2019 and August 2020, as well as in 2016 when he was still a candidate, according to the complaint. Woodward’s book, Rage, was published a month after the last interview. In October 2022, Simon & Schuster released the audiobook of the recordings, The Trump Tapes.
By Mario Parker and Zoe Tillman