CNN has contacted the Justice Department for comment.
Wolkoff told CNN in a statement that she “will not be deterred by these bullying tactics.”
“The fact that the President and the First Lady are using the US Department of Justice to silence me is a violation of my First Amendment rights and a blatant abuse of the government to pursue its own personal interests and goals,” Wolkoff said. “I fulfilled all of the terms of the free service agreement and the confidentiality provisions ended when the White House terminated the agreement. With the publication of my book, ‘Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with The First Lady’, I exercised my right to freedom of expression. ”
Wolkoff’s book, “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady,” details the fallout from Wolkoff’s work and personal relationship with Melania Trump, including private conversations between the two.
Wolkoff, a former Vogue magazine employee who oversaw expensive events, had known Melania Trump for more than a decade when she was hired to organize the planning for President Donald Trump’s inauguration. She was also Trump’s first hire for the East Wing, acting as the first lady’s senior advisor, writing speeches and helping to create what would become the ‘Be Best’ platform. During her time working for the East Wing, Wolkoff was a special government employee, meaning she was not paid for her services.
As the inquiries into the inaugural activities unfolded, Wolkoff’s relationship with the First Lady fell apart, driven by the amount of money Wolkoff and his events company allegedly pocketed during the planning and of the execution of the inauguration, according to CNN.
In his book, Wolkoff describes the planning for the inauguration as a botched effort, saying the new president did not understand who was behind the organization of the event.
Wolkoff also details the efforts she and, allegedly, Melania made to prevent President’s daughter Ivanka Trump from appearing in photos of the President’s swearing-in ceremony.
Wolkoff also secretly made a recording with the first lady, in which Melania Trump expresses her frustration at criticism of the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families.
The East Wing has previously claimed that Wolkoff violated the non-disclosure agreement. After the recording was released to the press, the first lady’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement: “Secretly registering the first lady and willfully breaking an NDA to publish a dirty book is an attempt clear of relevance. ”
This is not the first time that the Justice Department has prosecuted former Trump employees for publishing books about their working time in the White House.
The department has filed a lawsuit to prevent the publication of John Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” about his time as the White House’s national security adviser under President Trump.
In 2016, Melania Trump sued the Daily Mail for making false statements about her work as a professional model. In April 2017, the publisher apologized to Trump and agreed to pay $ 2.9 million in damages in a settlement.
CNN’s Kate Bennett, Caroline Kelly and Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.