Trump sues Bob Woodward for releasing audiotapes of White House interviews

Former President Donald Trump sued Bob Woodward on Monday, alleging the veteran reporter did not obtain his consent to release audiotapes of interviews conducted during his last two years in office.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Florida, focuses on the October release of “The Trump Tapes: Bob Woodward’s Twenty Interviews with President Donald Trump.” It is seeking nearly $50 million in damages and supports efforts to “capitalize on President Trump’s voice.”

In the lawsuit, Trump says he agreed to be recorded only for the purpose of Woodward’s book “Rage,” which was released in 2020, and that Woodward broke his promise to Trump by later using the interviews for an audiobook.

“President Trump has told Woodward numerous times that the interviews were to be used by Woodward – and only by Woodward – for the sole purpose of accurately quoting President Trump by the ‘written word,’ i.e., Angerand not for any other purpose, including to provide, market or sell the Interviews to the public, press or media, in any way, shape, or form,” the court documents said.

“Woodward has decided to exploit, usurp, and capitalize on President Trump’s voice by releasing interview audio recordings of their interviews with President Trump in the form of an audiobook,” the lawsuit states.

From December 2019 to July 2020, Woodward conducted a series of interviews with Trump at the White House, at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, and by telephone. They garnered national attention when excerpts showed Trump privately acknowledging the dangers of the Covid pandemic while publicly downplaying the threat to him.

Trump’s lawyers say the audio collected in the interviews was “protected material” and subject to restrictions on use and distribution.

Defendants named in the lawsuit include Simon & Schuster and its parent company, Paramount Global, as well as Woodward.

Woodward and his publisher fired back at Trump in a joint statement.

“Former President Trump’s cause is without merit and we will defend ourselves aggressively. All of these interviews were taped and recorded with President Trump’s knowledge and agreement. Furthermore, it is in the public interest to have this historical record in parole of Trump. We are confident that the facts and the law are in our favor,” the statement read.

Trump, who launched a third White House bid in November, is suing Woodward after the recent withdrawal of other lawsuits filed in Florida, one of them against New York Attorney General Letitia James, after a federal judge struck down Trump and his lawyer facing $1 million in fines for pushing a different “frivolous” suit.

NBC News asked a Trump spokesperson for comment.

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