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Former Trump staffer files lawsuit to invalidate 2016 presidential campaign’s nondisclosure agreement

Former Trump staffer files lawsuit to invalidate 2016 presidential campaign’s nondisclosure agreement
Donald J. Trump/Shutterstock
Donald J. Trump/Shutterstock

When Donald Trump was running for president in 2016, Jennica Denson was among the many campaign staffers who was asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement or NDA—meaning that she would be prohibited from disclosing information that could be considered confidential or private. And Denson has filed a class action lawsuit in the hope of invalidating all of the NDAs that Trump staffers were asked to sign in 2016.

After filing a workplace harassment and discrimination lawsuit, Denson was ordered to pay almost $50,000 to the campaign in 2017. She has continued her legal battle with the campaign, and BuzzFeed News is reporting that according to estimates from her attorneys, thousands of people who worked on the Trump campaign in 2016—from staffers to volunteers—and signed NDAs could be affected by the outcome.

Denson’s attorneys are asserting that the NDA Denson and other staffers were required to sign in 2016 was unlawful because it punishes them for exercising their right to take legal action for workplace violations such as unpaid wages and workplace discrimination.

In a court filing, Denson’s attorneys assert, “The Form NDAs effectively strip employees, contractors, and volunteers of their ability to pursue any of their rights to redress workplace misconduct. Anything and everything they could do will of necessity contain some information that a Trump Person could find disparaging or a disclosure of confidential information.”

The attorneys also said that the NDA Denson signed is problematic because “any person who has ever signed the Form NDA, whether or not he or she has entered into government service, subjects himself or herself to grievous financial penalty for the mere act of engaging in constitutionally protected criticism of the sitting president of the United States.”

David Bowles, an attorney for Denson, told BuzzFeed News that even though Denson’s lawsuit specifically addresses the Trump campaign NDA she signed, the outcome could affect other nondisclosure agreements as well.

Bowles told BuzzFeed that Denson “was deeply disappointed by the way she was treated by the campaign. She’s been deeply disappointed by the way the Trump campaign has used the NDA against her, and she fears that similar things are being done to other campaign workers. She wants to put it right.”

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