Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign has agreed to pay $450,000 as part of the settlement of a federal lawsuit over nondisclosure and “non-disparagement” agreements workers and volunteers were forced to sign.
Former aide Jessica Denson filed an initial suit in 2018 when the campaign tried to silence her after she complained she had been sexually harassed and discriminated against by another worker. Denson said she was subjected to a “reign of terror” at her job.
Denson was seeking class-action status for the suit when the settlement was reached last week.
As part of the deal, the campaign had already agreed last month to release all staff members, contractors and volunteers from “substantially identical” NDAs, which affected 422 individuals.
But the deal was in jeopardy late last month when attorneys for Trump’s campaign insisted the monetary amount be kept secret. U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe ruled that the amount had to be disclosed if the agreement was to proceed, Bloomberg reported.
Gardephe had earlier ruled that the language of the NDAs was invalid because it was too vague and “unduly burdensome” to be enforceable.
Denson’s lawyer David Bowles hailed the settlement jettisoning the NDAs.
“We think that this NDA was entirely unreasonable from the beginning,” Bowles told The New York Times.
“No attorney should have ever drafted it, and no campaign worker should have ever been compelled to sign it,” he added, calling the “unwinding of the NDA a triumph for free speech, for democracy and for Jessica Denson.”
Denson was also represented by the nonprofit public interest group Protect Democracy.
Trump campaign attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment.
Denson, who had not been seeking damages, will receive $25,000 as an “incentive” fee for pressing the case. The rest of the settlement amount will cover legal fees and other costs, according to the court filing.