John Bolton Can Move Forward With Discovery in Book Lawsuit
(Bloomberg) -- Former national security advisor John Bolton can seek documents and interview witnesses as he fights a government lawsuit claiming the publication of his memoir violated nondisclosure agreements, a federal judge in Washington ruled.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth on Thursday rejected the government’s request for an immediate judgment, and said Bolton can try to collect evidence that the Trump administration acted in bad faith during the pre-publication review of his book, “The Room Where it Happened.”
“Because Bolton argues that the government acted inequitably, the court must be satisfied that the government has clean hands before it can impose a constructive trust,” Lamberth wrote. “For Bolton to support that argument, he must be allowed limited discovery.”
The Justice Department declined to comment on the ruling.
The legal dispute over “The Room Where It Happened” began in June, when the government sought to block publication, claiming the book’s release would endanger national security. Lamberth allowed Bolton’s book to be released, partly because excerpts had begun to appear in newspapers.
But the government pursued its lawsuit to seize Bolton’s profits. The U.S. said Bolton was required to receive written confirmation that the book was free of classified information before publishing it. Bolton submitted the memoir for a security review but went ahead with publication without formal approval, arguing that the U.S. was dragging its feet to prevent embarrassing revelations about the president.
Bolton’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, has argued that neither of the two nondisclosure agreements that his client signed required him to receive written approval to publish the memoir, or even to submit the manuscript for review in the first place.
”We are reviewing the court’s order and opinion now,” Cooper said in an emailed statement. “We can say initially that we are very pleased at the opportunity to obtain discovery on the issue of the government’s bad faith in the prepublication review process.”
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