Trump NDAs Unenforceable? Trump Lawyers Shitty? WHAAAAA?!?!?
Losing your mind waiting for the Manfort jury to come back? Join the club! Let's distract ourselves with fun story of Jessica Denson, a former Trump campaign worker who represented herself pro se in a lawsuit to get her Non-Disclosure Agreement invalidated. AND SHE WON!
Why, yes, this is the very same agreement that Omarosa and thousands of other Trump employees signed! (Although the ruling is limited -- but more on that later.)
If Denson ever gets the NDA thrown out in its entirety, she's going to write one hell of a crazy book. Her complaint alone is full of delicious dirt on her rise from a Trump campaign phone banker to Hispanic Engagement Director in the den of vipers that surrounds Trump wherever he goes. According to Denson, along the way she pissed off her supervisor Camilo Sandoval, alienated designated strumpet AJ Delgado, became a favorite of Steve Bannon, and had her claims of persistent workplace harassment ignored by noted champion of women Kellyanne Conway.
Like everything else in Trumpland, it's gross and pathetic. Denson alleges that her horrible boss Camilo Sandoval abused his staff out of spite.
If the name Camilo Sandoval sounds familiar, it's because he's involved in the current Veteran's Affairs scandal. After getting bounced from Treasury, where he got clocked as a White House plant and immediately parked in the basement, Sandoval was shunted to the VA to stick a shiv in former Secretary Shulkin, after which he made himself indispensable as the eyes and ears of the Mar-a-Lago cabal wreaking havoc on care for millions of veterans. Because of course he did.
But long before that, he was a Trump campaign staffer with some serious boundary issues. After Steve Bannon promoted Denson to Hispanic Engagement Director, she says Sandoval waged a defamatory campaign against her in an attempt to harass her out of the job. This included "irregular and repeated remote rebooting of her iPhone," telling other campaign workers that "Jessica is in trouble and you should separate yourself from her," and threatening to report her rental car stolen while Denson was driving to a campaign event. In the end, Denson's promised job with the transition team "vaporized" and she was booted off Trump Island, because no one in the Very Stable Genius administration ever heard the expression about women scorned outside the tent pissing in ... we guess.
He seems nice! In fact, they all seem nice!
We're not too sure about Denson's definition of "assault," and good luck to her collecting that $25,000,000 she demands in her complaint. But a very unsarcastic congratulations on getting the judge to toss the Trump campaign's claim that the Denson's harassment and defamation suit had to be tried in confidential arbitration.
It all comes down to shitty lawyering, as usual. See Trump's Non-Disclosure Agreement was simply designated "AGREEMENT," and it wasn't a part of her employment contract. It gave the Trump Campaign the right to insist on arbitration for five distinct categories of behavior:
- No Disclosure of Confidential Information;
- No Disparagement;
- No Competitive Services;
- No Competitive Solicitation; and
- No Competitive Intellectual Property Claims.
So Denson can proceed in New York State court with her lawsuit, which means she can now depose the Trump campaign and begin discovery of internal emails. (Paging Omarosa!) She's also suing in federal court to void the entire agreement, which would free every Trump staffer to start talking. And, by the by, the current NDA being circulated by the 2020 campaign looks to be substantially identical to the 2016 version Denson signed. Although they've craftily retitled it "COMPANION AGREEMENT," so who can tell!
Odds that Denson has professional counsel by close of business today? We're guessing 100 percent. You go, Girl!
DIS GON' BE GOOOOOOOD.
Follow your FDF on Twitter!
You liking these lawsplainers? Leave us a tip in the jar below. Or help Wonkette live forever by clicking here.
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.