Lawyers representing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump are gearing up for a major legal battle with Tony Schwartz, the author who ghostwrote Trump’s bestselling business guide and memoir “The Art of the Deal.”
Schwartz is now speaking publicly about the book, saying Trump’s abrupt ascent to the loftiest apogees of political success has stirred his conscience, spurring him to step forward to tear down the edifice he himself helped construct.
“I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is,” he told the New Yorker in a July article. “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”
He made similar comments during the Republican National Convention, telling MSNBC that he bears no personal animus towards the brash billionaire — because there’s so little to the man himself. “There’s no heart, there’s no soul there,” he said of Trump. “There’s just a man trying to transactionally do what he thinks will aggrandize them.”
During the same interview, he denied that Trump played any substantive role in writing the book, telling host Rachel Maddow that he presented a manuscript to Trump, which he lightly edited before publication.
Now Trump’s attorneys are hitting back hard.
Jason Greenblatt, the Trump Organization’s top lawyer, sent Schwartz a cease and desist notice, claiming his remarks constituted a breach of the agreement he executed with Trump prior to the book’s publication. Greenblatt demanded that Schwartz forfeit all royalties he collected — which total several million dollars — and a written retraction of his defamatory statements.
“Simply stated, your statements are not only completely disingenuous, but replete with outright lies, false and destructive statements, and downright fabrications which you know to be completely untrue, thereby exposing you to liability for damages and other tortious harm,” the letter reads.
The letter also claims that Schwartz attempted to cultivate a long term relationship with Trump given the book’s success, hoping to entice him into future projects, citing a 1988 letter Greenblatt claims Schwartz sent Trump.
“Our partnership has been a success in every respect,” Schwartz allegedly wrote. “Together, we’ve created one of the most successful books every published, and managed to remain on remarkably good terms throughout. I very much want for that to continue, in part because I hope we’ll be able to work together again on other projects.”
“It’s nuts, and completely indicative of who he is,” Schwartz said of the notice. “There’s no basis in anything legal.”
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