Trump sues Woodward over audiobook recordings

Former President Donald Trump sued journalist Bob Woodward on Monday, alleging that an audiobook published using interview tapes from their conversations violated his rights and copyright interests.

The lawsuit accuses Woodward of “systematic usurpation, manipulation, and exploitation of audio,” by publishing “The Trump Tapes,” Woodward’s 2022 audio compilation of his conversations with Trump.

Trump’s copyright interests and “rights he holds as an interviewee” were violated by the audiobook, the lawsuit alleges. He is requesting damages and a declaration of his copyright interests, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Fla.

The lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of Florida. It also named as defendants Simon & Schuster — the audiobook’s publisher — and Paramount, Simon & Schuster’s parent company.

Woodward and Simon & Schuster said in a joint statement on Monday evening that the lawsuit was “without merit,” since the interviews were recorded on the record with Trump’s consent.

“Moreover, it is in the public interest to have this historical record in Trump’s own words,” the statement said. “We are confident that the facts and the law are in our favor.”

Central to the lawsuit’s argument is the claim that Trump never agreed for his voice to be used in an audiobook when he was interviewed for Woodward’s 2021 book on his presidency, “Rage.” Woodward received Trump’s consent to be recorded and “repeatedly informed him that such interviews were for the sole purpose of a book,” the lawsuit said.

“When it came to treating President Trump fairly, Mr. Woodward talked the talk, but he failed to walk the walk,” the suit said.