Do NDAs Influence Media Contributors?

Katz, Marshall & Banks partner Debra Katz was quoted in a Washington Post article, “Are pro-Trump commenters legally bound to say nice things about Trump?

When Omarosa Manigault Newman released her tell-all book last month, President Trump jabbed on Twitter, “Wacky Omarosa already has a fully signed Non-Disclosure Agreement.” He went on to suggest that Newman violated the agreement by publishing embarrassing and unsavory details about the President and his administration in her book.

Trump’s response has raised the question of who else has signed an NDA, and whether agreements muzzle what they can and cannot say publicly.

Legally, such a broad, government-imposed constraint on individual speech is probably unconstitutional under the First Amendment. However, they can still be effective at controlling what people say. “Of course [NDAs] chill speech,” said Ms. Katz. “That’s their purpose.”

Given that certain pundits and public figures are legally prohibited - or feel as though they are - from making disparaging comments about the Trump administration, news organization ought to disclose when sources and contributors are subject to NDAs. While this may seem obvious, spokespeople and representatives from various networks have been unable to confirm that all of their pundits are truly able to express themselves without the threat of a lawsuit.

Read the full story here.