Trump Sues Bob Woodward for $50M

Former president is miffed that Watergate journo used their interviews for an audiobook
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2023 7:21 AM CST
Donald Trump Sues Bob Woodward
Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at the South Carolina Statehouse on Saturday in Columbia, South Carolina.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Looks like we've got "audiogate." Bob Woodward, the famed Washington Post journalist who broke open the Nixon Watergate scandal with colleague Carl Bernstein, is being sued by former President Trump, who accuses the veteran reporter of using interviews he recorded of Trump in an audiobook released in October, reports the Wall Street Journal. Per his complaint filed Monday in a Florida federal court, the former president alleges the 79-year-old Woodward took interviews, originally recorded with Trump's permission for a written book, and used them as well in an audio version called The Trump Tapes: Bob Woodward's Twenty Interviews With President Donald Trump.

Those nearly two dozen sit-downs, recorded from December 2019 through August 2020, were the basis of Woodward's book Rage, the second part of a trilogy that came out in mid-September 2020; Fear came out in 2018, and Peril in 2021. Trump's suit accuses Woodward of taking part in "systematic usurpation, manipulation, and exploitation of audio of President Trump," alleging that Trump "repeatedly stated to Woodward, in the presence of others, that he was agreeing to be recorded for the sole purpose of Woodward being able to write a single book." Trump also accuses Woodward of sometimes turning on the recorder before he'd told Trump he was doing so.

"When it came to treating President Trump fairly, Mr. Woodward talked the talk, but he failed to walk the walk," the complaint notes, per Politico. Trump—who also names publisher Simon & Schuster as a defendant, as well as S&S parent company Paramount—is seeking around $50 million in damages. In a joint statement, Woodward and S&S call the complaint "without merit." It adds: "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." (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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