Former President Trump is suing veteran journalist Bob Woodward over copyright violations. Trump claims that Woodward, who interviewed the former president for his 2020 book, released audio recordings of their exchanges without Trump’s consent.
In the lawsuit filed Monday in the Northern District of Florida, Trump seeks just under $50 million in damages from Woodward, publisher Simon & Schuster Inc., and Paramount Global, the publisher’s parent company.
Trump alleges that he did not consent to the release of 19 taped interviews conducted for Woodward’s 2020 book, “Rage.” The taped interviews, conducted between 2019 and 2020, were ultimately released last year by Simon & Schuster in audiobook format.
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Former President Trump, left, sat down with veteran journalist Bob Woodward for 19 interviews between 2019 and 2020.
Woodward’s audiobook, “The Trump Tapes,” features 8 hours of interviews with Trump conducted between 2016 and 2020, alongside Woodward’s commentary.
The former commander-in-chief alleges that he had agreed to record his exchanges with Woodward for the “sole purpose of Woodward being able to write a single book,” according to language from the 31-page complaint.
Trump’s legal team arrived at $50 million in damages by assuming 2 million sales of the audiobook at $24.99.
“In publishing ‘Rage,’ Woodward clearly hoped to replicate the success of ‘Fear,’ but he failed to do so. Faced with the reality that ‘Rage’ was a complete and total failure, Woodward decided to exploit, usurp, and capitalize upon President Trump’s voice by releasing the Interview Sound Recordings of their interviews with President Trump in the form of an audiobook,” said the lawsuit.
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Former President Trump launched his third run for the White House shortly after the midterm elections in November 2022.
( SAUL LOEB/AFP)
The former president also alleges that Woodward misrepresented at least one of their conversations by editing out portions of the interview.
“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,” said Woodward and Simon & Schuster in a joint statement responding to the suit.
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The lawsuit comes amid Trump’s third run for the White House as he currently faces no other GOP challengers. The former president visited South Carolina and New Hampshire over the weekend, both early battleground states in the presidential primary process.