A judge in New York has ruled that a confidentiality agreement between the Trump campaign and a former staffer is limited in scope, a decision that could have potential ramifications for other nondisclosure agreements signed by former Trump staffers.
In a ruling in the case of Jessica Denson, a former Trump campaign staffer who filed a lawsuit last year alleging sexual discrimination and harassment while working for the campaign, the judge ruled that Denson's harassment claim was not subject to out-of-court arbitration under the agreement.
“The motion by defendant to compel arbitration is denied. The cross-motion by plaintiff, who is self-represented, to amend her complaint is granted.” Judge denies Trump campaign’s attempt to use NDA to force my employment case into secret arbitration.https://t.co/UWkTwI3Sq7— Jessica Denson (@JessicaDenson07) August 16, 2018
Due to the wording of the agreement, it appeared only disputes over the agreement itself and a few other prohibited behaviors were subject to arbitration, Judge Arlene Bluth wrote, according to Yahoo News.
“As an initial matter, the Court observes that the arbitration clause confines arbitration to ‘any dispute arising under or relating to this agreement,’” Bluth reportedly wrote. “It does not require arbitration for any ‘dispute between the parties’ or even ‘any dispute arising out of plaintiff’s employment.’”
“There is simply no way to construe this arbitration clause in this agreement to prevent … pursuing harassment claims in court," she added.
The case could have significant effects on the results of future arbitration cases filed by the Trump campaign against former staffers, including that of Omarosa Manigault NewmanOmarosa Manigault NewmanJudge denies Omarosa Manigault Newman request to depose Trump, John Kelly in lawsuit Tanden seeks to defuse GOP tensions over tweets Juan Williams: The GOP's problem with women of color MORE, the former White House staffer who made headlines this week with the release of a tell-all book about the Trump administration.
The president has also been involved in nondisclosure agreements with women who claim to have had affairs with him, including former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult-film star Stormy Daniels.
Manigault Newman has been targeted for arbitration over claims made in her book and on her press tour, with the Trump campaign reportedly seeking millions in damages.
The president has sought to undermine his former aide's credibility in the wake of her book's release, attacking her on social media and in official statements.
“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” Trump tweeted earlier this week.