The U.S. Justice Department is suing Omarosa Manigault-Newman, a former aide to President Donald Trump, for failing to file a required public financial disclosure report after her ouster from the White House in 2017.
The complaint, filed Tuesday, accuses the former reality star of “knowingly and willfully,” failing to file the required documents, despite repeated calls and requests from the Justice Department and White House reminding her to submit them, according to the New York Post.
According to the suit, Manigault-Newman was asked to submit the report because her annual salary exceeded $124,406. By not doing so, she’s now violating the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, which was passed after the Nixon Watergate scandal.
Manigault’s lawyer, John Phillips, blasted the complaint as “premature,” and “yet another attempt to silence a dissenting voice,” Reuters reported.
The former staffer, who shot to fame during season 1 of NBC’s “The Apprentice,” saw her relationship with the president go down the drain after her firing by then White House chief of staff John Kelly. She was once one of Trump’s most vocal Black supporters but burned that bridge after she began publicly shaming the president’s administration.
She also published a tell-all memoir, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House,” last August.
The lawsuit contends that the former Trump ally, who served 11 months as director of communications in the White House Office of Public Liaison, was given a “post-government employment briefing” in December 2017, after her firing, and was informed of her obligation “to file a termination financial disclosure report” within 30 days of her departure.
After the deadline had passed, a White House attorney emailed Manigault-Newman to warn her that she could face a $200 fine for filing late. Still, she ignored repeated attempts by officials to get in touch with her, the lawsuit alleges.
Now the government is seeking a $50,000 civil fine against the controversial ex-staffer.
A lawyer for Manigault-Newman told Reuters the reason she had not filed the report is because the White House refused to hand over documents she needed to complete it.
“The White House chooses to abuse process and use the Department of Justice to carry out retaliation,” said Phillips. “The lawsuit alleges that Omarosa Manigault-Newman ‘knowingly and willfully’ failed to file a report. This is untrue.”
The filing comes a month after Manigault-Newman sought to join a lawsuit accusing the Trump campaign of gender pay discrimination, alleging she was paid significantly less than her white male peers.