Former President Donald Trump is suing famed investigative journalist Bob Woodward over audio recordings used in The Trump Tapes.
In 2019 and 2020, the then-president agreed to let Woodward record a series of interviews, but Trump contends that he did not agree to Woodward using those recordings in his 2022 audiobook.
Woodward, publishing company Simon & Schuster and its parent company Paramount Global are being sued for $49 million.
“When it came to treating President Trump fairly, Mr. Woodward talked the talk, but he failed to walk the walk,” the lawsuit reads.
“This case centers on Mr. Woodward’s systematic usurpation, manipulation, and exploitation of audio of President Trump gathered in connection with a series of interviews conducted by Mr. Woodward.”
Trump’s legal team argues that the former president’s copyright interests are being infringed upon by the audio content of those interviews being used for financial gain “without any accounting or recompense for him.”
Trump claims he attempted to confront Woodward, Simon & Schuster and Paramount about the issue before pursuing legal action.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division.
The filing goes on to tout Trump’s personal and professional familiarity with the book publishing industry, citing several books he has had published such as Trump: The Art of the Deal.
“As a published author with a publishing contract for future books with Winning Team Publishing, President Trump has the clear right and capability to publish his own words and his own voice,” the filing said.
Altogether, Trump was interviewed by Woodward 19 times for Woodward’s 2020 book Rage, including interviews at the White House and Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Fla.
Trump’s team suggests that Rage failed to reach the acclaim of Woodward’s previous work Fear, which led to the decision to release The Trump Tapes. They also suggest that the audio was edited together in a way that is not representative of the full context of the conversations.
“Faced with the reality that Rage was a complete and total failure, Woodward decided to exploit, usurp, and capitalize upon President Trump’s voice by releasing the Interview Sound Recordings of their interviews with President Trump in the form of an audiobook,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit also cites several third-party audiobook distributors that list Trump as an author on The Trump Tapes.
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