The Justice Department on Tuesday sued former Trump senior White House advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman for allegedly failing to file required financial disclosures after the notorious "The Apprentice" contestant was fired from her job.
The department, in its suit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., claims Manigault Newman, who had been director of communications of the White House Office of Public Liaison, was told after she was fired by then-White House chief of staff John Kelly in December 2017 that she had to file a financial disclosure form.
When she allegedly failed to do so, the suit claims, she was reminded of her obligation seven more times from January through March 2018.
"Notwithstanding the numerous attempt to obtain her compliance, Ms. Manigault Newman has not filed her termination financial disclosure report," the lawsuit said.
Manigault Newman declined to comment. Her lawyer, John Phillips, denied the claim in the suit, and accused the White House of using the Justice Department to retaliate against her while denying her access to records she needs to file the disclosure.
"Once again, the White House chooses to abuse process and use the Department of Justice to carry out retaliation. The lawsuit alleges that Omarosa Manigault Newman 'knowingly and willfully' failed to file a report. This is untrue," he said.
Manigault Newman, a once-fierce defender of President Donald Trump who now is a strong critic of the president,is accused in the suit of violating the Ethics in Government Act, which is punishable by a fine of up to $50,000.
Last year, she released a book entitled "Unhinged," which accused Trump of being a "racist."
Last August, Trump's presidential campaign filed an arbitration action against Manigault Newman, claiming she breached a nondisclosure agreement in connection with her work for his 2016 election effort.
Here's the full statement from Manigault Newman's attorney:
Once again, the White House chooses to abuse process and use the Department of Justice to carry out retaliation. The lawsuit alleges that Omarosa Manigault Newman "knowingly and willfully" failed to file a report. This is untrue.
Said report is designed to disclose "the source, date, and amount of honoraria of over $200." Omarosa Manigault Newman regularly kept records of this nature in her office at the White House. In order to provide a report, Omarosa Manigault Newman has repeatedly requested these and other documents which The White House and its Counsel's Office seized at her termination. Specifically, in several calls and email to the White House, she discussed the need for the "contents of seven boxes from my office that were seized by Uttam Dhillon, Irene H. Porada and Mr. Passantino," upon her departure. It wasn't until May 10, 2019 that they agreed to provide documents or even acknowledged their existence.
We requested an extension until her documents could be returned. However, despite my client's best efforts, the Department of Justice or the White House continues to withhold these documents, which are needed to complete the disclosure. As a further abuse of justice, the Trump Administration provided media with a Complaint before my client was served or even had a chance to read it.
We will pick up these materials immediately and have requested same repeatedly. Omarosa Manigault Newman cannot even get a straight answer about the amount of materials wrongfully possessed. This is premature, retaliatory and yet another attempt to silence a dissenting voice.