Former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign will pay $450,000 as part of a settlement of a long court fight over its use of nondisclosure agreements, according to documents filed Friday in a New York federal court.
The proposed settlement with Jessica Denson, a former campaign aide whom the campaign tried to silence as she claimed she was the target of abusive treatment and sexual discrimination by another campaign member, effectively invalidates the nondisclosure agreements that hundreds of officials from Trump’s first presidential run signed.
Denson is set to receive $25,000, the filings show, and the rest will cover legal fees and other costs. The judge in the case, who has not yet approved the settlement, pushed back on efforts by the campaign to keep the paperwork sealed. The details were reported earlier by Bloomberg News.
“We think that this NDA was entirely unreasonable from the beginning,” said David K. Bowles, one of the lawyers for Denson, who initially represented herself in the case. “No attorney should have ever drafted it, and no campaign worker should have ever been compelled to sign it. We think the unwinding of the NDA is a triumph for free speech, for democracy and for Jessica Denson, in particular, and we are very proud of our accomplishment tonight.”
A representative for Trump’s 2016 campaign did not respond to emails seeking comment.
Trump has made broad use of nondisclosure agreements throughout his business career and, later, his political career. The agreements have generally sought to keep people from disclosing information about Trump, but he has also used them as a cudgel against a wide variety of aides. In Denson’s case, her lawyers argued the agreement was overly broad, among other flaws.
Denson had been trying to make the suit a certified class action shortly before the matter was settled. She has a separate case pending related to her claim that she was sexually discriminated against by a superior on the campaign.