Justice Department suing Melania Trump's former friend and adviser over tell-all book

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff.
(Image credit: Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

The Justice Department is suing Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend of first lady Melania Trump, over a tell-all book published last month.

Wolkoff, who briefly worked as an unpaid senior adviser to the first lady, wrote in Melania and Me that Trump had a tense relationship with her stepdaughter, Ivanka Trump, showed little compassion for the migrant children being separated from their families at the border, and resented having to decorate the White House for Christmas. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit against Wolkoff, alleging that by writing the tell-all book, she violated a non-disclosure agreement she signed in August 2017.

DOJ attorneys say the NDA did not have an expiration date, and they want a court order to force Wolkoff to place any profits she has made from the book into a government trust. They are also asking that she pay the government's legal fees and court costs, ABC News reports.

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Attorney Mark Zaid, who has handled cases involving the government and national security, tweeted that it is "a complete abuse of the Justice Department to pursue this case for personal reasons. And it's legally unenforceable." Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, said Attorney General William Barr is "not just Donald Trump's lawyer/fixer — but he is also Melania Trump's lawyer? ... Barr continues to soil the DOJ in horrific ways."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.