Hours after excerpts from a book that were published and prior to the book being released, lawyers on behalf of the President had threatened the author by using cease and desist letters. These letters threatened legal action for defamation due to alleged falsehoods. In a letter sent to former Presidential advisor Steven Bannon, the letter stated that “legal action is imminent.,” Another letter to the publisher demanded the book’s author and publisher halt the book’s release and “issue a full and complete retraction and apology” or else face legal action. Organizations such as the American Booksellers Association, the Authors Guild, and the National Coalition Against Censorships have come forward to condemn the attempt to halt the book from getting into the hands of the public. The cease and desist letter also meant that the author moves the date up to an earlier release date in order to garner greater media attention. Nor did the letter clearly point to any specific facts as untrue. As such, a media frenzy ensued.
It is common knowledge that the First Amendment protects such forms of writing in the right to exercise Freedom of Speech provisions. Despite such warnings and the violation of an employment contract that was in place, experts agree that it is likely that such a contract would be considered unenforceable due to the nature of public interest in the matter. This is even though the agreement included terms which specified that included nonusage of disparaging remarks and non-disclosure terms against the Trump Family or Organization. First Amendment lawyers have chimed in and claim that agreements cannot be enforceable or remain “confidential.” This is the first time that a President has ever sought or obtained such a kind of agreement. The reason for that being, that these forms of agreements are against public policy. Unless there were certain governmental secrets which could threaten national security, there must be a policy justification. Preventing criticism is not justifiable under the circumstances. It must be noted, however, had this been a corporate situation, a finding may have been different. Continue reading ›