KEY POINTS

  • The Justice Department sued Stephanie Winston Wolkoff after she published a tell-all book about Melania Trump
  • The book recounts her friendship with the first lady that lasted almost two decades
  • The lawsuit accused Wolkoff of breaching her nondisclosure agreement

The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday sued the author of the tell-all book about First Lady Melania Trump, saying the writer broke a nondisclosure agreement in publishing the title. 

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff authored the book “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady,” which hit shelves in early September. Wolkoff recounted her nearly two-decade friendship with Melania before it ended in a bitter dissolution. 

In the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Justice Department lawyers accused Wolkoff of breach of contract and said she had “indirect access to deliberative information, to which the First Lady was privy, related to the President’s official duties on behalf of the country,” USA Today reported.

 

The suit further alleged that the first lady or the White House counsel never received a book draft for review. The complaint also asks a judge to order Wolkoff to surrender any profits she made from her book to a government trust. 

In a previous interview with MSNBC, the author said she received a cease-and-desist order from the White House and the Justice Department weeks before the book hit shelves. 

“A couple of months ago, I had a cease-and-desist warning,” she said. “The last thing that any of these people want is for the truth to be told.”

Wolkoff worked as an unpaid adviser to Melania Trump from 2017 to February 2018. Before that, she worked as a fashion director for Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week, and was the former director of special events at Vogue Magazine. 

In 2017, Wolkoff helped organize the presidential inauguration. She was abruptly dismissed after reports revealed her events management firm received $26 million from Trump’s inaugural committee. However, she said the money went to vendors contracted by her company. In the book, Wolkoff also said she believes she was set up by Ivanka Trump to be the focus of public outrage. 

Wolkoff said the “inaccurate” reporting and Melania's failure to defend her permanently damaged her reputation and integrity.

“I was there at the beginning,” Wolkoff writes in her book. “I witnessed the transformation of Melania from gold plate to 24-karat gold. I believed she had the heart to match, that she was genuinely caring and loving and worth all of our attention. Throughout our early friendship, she lived up to what I saw in her. Watching her now, and seeing that only the gold shell remains, I have to wonder if that’s all she ever was, and I was the sucker who bought the fake watch on the street corner.”