President Donald Trump filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against author Bob Woodward, alleging that the longtime political activist used recordings of interviews without permission in a newly released audiobook.
The lawsuit claims Woodward wrongfully received “unjust enrichment” due to publishing the tapes. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Florida.
The complaint alleges that President Trump agreed to have the series of 19 interviews with Woodward recorded for his book titled “Rage.” The interviews took place in 2019 and 2020. However, Trump says that the permission to record was granted “for the sole purpose of a book.” He says there was no agreement they could be used directly in an audiobook.
The lawsuit expressly states the permission granted to Woodward to record was strictly limited to the “sole purpose of Woodward being able to write a single book.”
Trump files $50 million lawsuit against journalist Bob Woodward for publishing interview recordings https://t.co/LeulAWCIL7
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 31, 2023
Woodward and publisher Simon & Schuster used edited versions of the actual recordings of the interviews in an audiobook titled “The Trump Tapes.” The audiobook contains 8 hours of edited recordings of the interviews. It also includes commentary recorded by Woodward after the material was compiled.
The lawsuit seeks a judgment for more than $49 million in damages from Woodward, Simon & Schuster, and its parent company Paramount Global.
In addition to claiming misrepresentation through deceptive editing, the lawsuit says it is based on “Woodward’s systematic usurpation, manipulation and exploitation of audio of President Trump.”
The complaint also alleges that the audiobook misrepresented the interviews through misleading editing.
The complaint claims the amount sought as damages by multiplying the audiobook’s price, $24.99, by 2 million, representing the number of copies sold. It states: “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.”
Woodward and Simon & Schuster issued a press statement in response to the lawsuit, saying they believe the “lawsuit is without merit and we will aggressively defend against it.” Woodward also says each interview was “on the record,” and it is “in the public interest to have this historical record in Trump’s own words.”
Tucker Carlson pointed out on his Fox News show on January 20 that Woodward’s reputation was built on his involvement in reporting the Watergate scandal that took down the presidency of Richard Nixon in the 1970s. Carlson noted that Woodward had no background in journalism or the news business when he became famous during Watergate.
Carlson pointed out that Woodward “came directly from the classified areas of the federal government” and had a top-secret clearance.