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Jessica Denson’s Statement on Decision Invalidating Trump NDA Against Omarosa Manigault-Newman

Denson’s own victory over the Campaign earlier this year paved the way for the decision.

NEW YORK, NY – On September 24, an arbitrator rejected the Trump Campaign’s attempt to silence former Campaign staffer Omarosa Manigault-Newman through enforcement of an illegal non-disclosure agreement (“NDA”).

The arbitrator’s decision is explicitly based on Jessica Denson’s ongoing efforts to invalidate all of the Trump Campaign’s NDAs. In March of 2021, the court in Ms. Denson’s federal class action before the Southern District of New York issued a decision invalidating Ms. Denson’s NDA, which was identical to Ms. Manigault-Newman’s agreement. The arbitrator followed the Denson court’s analysis and invalidated Ms. Manigault-Newman’s NDA on the same grounds. Ms. Denson is represented by Protect Democracy, Bowles & Johnson PLLC, and Ballard Spahr LLP in her federal case.  

The arbitrator found the federal judge’s ruling “persuasive and in line with principles of New York contract law.” The arbitrator also specifically rejected the Campaign’s “attempt[] to distinguish Ms. Denson” and her case, and for good reason as the Trump Campaign has repeatedly attempted to enforce essentially identical and staggeringly broad NDAs against former staffers who wish to speak about their experiences working closely with the former president and his Campaign.

Says Ms. Denson, “As one woman who took on Donald Trump’s illegal conduct without a lawyer four years ago, I applaud the arbitrator’s decision to rely on the precedent in my case. When Trump’s campaign weaponized their illegal NDA against me in violation of my civil and constitutional rights, I realized that the NDA was an imminent threat not just to me, but to our very democracy, and it had to be eliminated. I first sued pro se to invalidate the NDA in 2018, and after an extraordinary journey through arbitration and the courts, enduring a $50,000 judgment entered against me and winning on appeal, and the addition of my superb legal team, we arrived at the precedent-setting invalidation of the NDA this year – a precedent that enabled justice today for Ms. Manigault-Newman, and hopefully many more to come.

While legal experts have long claimed that the NDA is a legally worthless document, the intimidation and fear of enforcement is hardly frivolous to those who signed it, and they need look no farther than my case to see how speaking out could materially alter their lives. As the former president continues to assault the nation’s conscience and threaten our democracy with vast and dangerous lies, every impediment to accountability and a common understanding of the truth must be removed. That is why we are pursuing class certification in order to free all those who remain bound for life by Trump’s NDAs.

Truth and accountability are indispensable to our future as a democracy, and justice is inevitable if we are willing to pursue it, undeterred. Just ask this woman.”

More information about the Denson v. Donald J. Trump For President, Inc. case is available here.

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Protect Democracy is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing American democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government.

Bowles & Johnson PLLC is a New York City based law firm specializing in a modern approach to the practice of law in the areas of complex civil litigation, transactional law and corporate law.

Ballard Spahr LLP is a national firm with more than 650 lawyers in 15 offices in the United States, serving clients across industries in litigation, business and transactions, finance, intellectual property, and real estate.