The Justice Department is suing Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former aide in the Trump White House, for failing to file a legally required personal financial disclosure report after she was fired in 2017.
The lawsuit says Manigault Newman never filed the report required from departing senior staffers and largely ignored numerous requests from White House lawyers to submit the report following her acrimonious departure from her post as communications director in the Office of Public Liaison.
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The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, asks a judge to order Manigault Newman to file the report and to pay a civil penalty of $50,000 for “willfully” defying the ethics mandate.
About eight months after her forced exit from the White House, Manigault Newman released a tell-all book, “Unhinged,” and used a publicity tour for the book to release audio recordings she surreptitiously made of conversations with President Donald Trump and colleagues, including one of the meeting in which the White House chief of staff at the time, John Kelly, dismissed her.
Trump responded with a series of personal attacks on his former appointee and famously backstabbing “Apprentice” contestant, calling her a “crazed, crying lowlife” and a “dog.”
Trump campaign lawyers also filed a legal action against Manigault Newman, asking an arbitrator to rule that she violated a confidentiality agreement by publishing claims about incidents on the campaign.
Despite the bad blood, a Justice Department official portrayed the filing as routine in such cases.
However, Manigault Newman blasted the suit as political payback and insisted she couldn’t file the report because the White House never returned her personal files after she left.
“Since my departure from the White House in 2017, I have attempted to get back my six boxes of personal items, which included financial records needed for this report,” she said in a statement responding to the suit. “The White House has admitted that they have my things … and yet refuse to return these items. … This lawsuit as well as the arbitration is political retribution from the White House, plain and simple.”
A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the status of her personal files.
The outcome of the confidentiality fight relating to her work for the campaign is unclear, but just last month Manigault Newman launched another legal salvo against her former employer, seeking to join a lawsuit alleging that female staffers were underpaid by Trump’s presidential campaign. A judge recently dismissed that suit but said he would permit it to be refiled.