Trump’s 2016 campaign to pay $450k in NDA lawsuit settlement
A staffer for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for president will receive as much as $25,000 in a legal settlement should a judge overseeing her suit against the former president’s first White House bid approve the deal.
The legal case itself will also have much greater implications beyond a mere monetary penalty for Mr Trump as well.
The Trump campaign had proposed the settlement with Jessica Denson, who accused another staffer on the campaign of sexually harassing her as well as being generally abusive, The New York Times first reported this weekend. It isn’t final yet, but members of her legal team are celebrating their win.
“We think that this NDA was entirely unreasonable from the beginning,” attorney David K. Bowles told the publication. “No attorney should have ever drafted it, and no campaign worker should have ever been compelled to sign it. We think the unwinding of the NDA is a triumph for free speech, for democracy and for Jessica Denson, in particular, and we are very proud of our accomplishment tonight.”
Journalists eager for stories from Mr Trump’s successful presidential bid are likely to also be celebrating, as the settlement will free other staffers bound by the same nondisclosure agreements to speak publicly about their experiences.
The use of such agreements has exploded in the political world in recent years; just this past week newly-elected Congressman George Santos, who is currently at the center of a multitude of scandals thanks to his many lies about his background, was heard on leaked audio joking that members of his staff were under a similar agreement.
Mr Trump’s two chaotic campaigns for presidency — to speak nothing of his time in the White House itself — generated an unprecedented buzz in the media. Many reporters were eager for an inside look into the political machine that the business mogul seemingly built out of nowhere to propel him into office.
That same media buzz often presented itself in the form of embarrassing or negative news coverage of Mr Trump’s campaign, administration and personal life, prompting Mr Trump to fume about leaks to the media in public and private for much of his presidency.
In one now-famous moment from just a month into his presidency, Mr Trump insisted that reporters were writing “fake news” about his administration while at the same time admitting that the information being leaked by his staff to the press was indeed “real”.
"The leaks are absolutely real, the news is fake, because so much of the news is fake," he complained to reporters at a combative news conference.
More recently, the ex-president demanded that a Politico reporter who broke the story of a leaked Supreme Court draft be sent to prison, a statement that was denounced by press freedom watchers.