An aide on former President Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign celebrated a federal judge formalizing a settlement on Wednesday over a lawsuit that argued the campaign’s nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) were overly restrictive.
Jessica Denson, who worked on Trump’s campaign first as a phone bank administrator, then as a Hispanic outreach coordinator, filed a class-action claim in New York against Trump’s campaign in 2019 over an NDA she signed. She argued the agreement had been “weaponized” to silence her over allegations she made against a supervisor of sexual and verbal harassment.
The settlement was first reached in January and preliminarily approved in June. Wednesday’s legal action finalized the agreement and voided all NDAs for former staff members of Trump’s 2016 campaign.
“We just achieved a massive victory for free speech, in the face of a wannabe authoritarian who threatens American democracy to this day,” Denson said in a statement while taking a veiled swipe at Trump.
Denson added: “From what began as one woman’s fight, the excuses for silence have been lifted, and this illegal barrier between truth and the American people is forever removed. Democracy dies in fear and silence, but only if we let it. We refused, and we won.”
Newsweek reached out to a representative for Trump via email for comment on Thursday.
Trump’s 2024 campaign has previously argued against the merit of Denson’s case because the 2016 campaign workers were told in 2022 that their NDAs were dropped.
Court documents from earlier this year when the settlement was first announced show the Trump campaign will pay out $450,000 in the suit with Denson. Most of the money will cover legal fees and other costs, while Denson herself is set to receive $25,000.
The NDAs signed by the 2016 staffers reportedly said employees could not “demean or disparage publicly” Trump during their work for the campaign or “at all times thereafter.” Denson’s attorneys argued the agreement was too broad and vague.
“We’re grateful to be able to bring this case to a successful conclusion and obtain all of the relief we sought for Ms. Denson and the others subject to these NDAs,” Joe Slaughter of Ballard Spahr LLP, who was one of the attorneys representing Denson, said in a statement.
He continued: “Now anyone who had been subject to seven years of enforced silence due to these illegal contracts is free to speak out without fear of the retribution that was a hallmark of the Trump Campaign’s efforts to silence its workers.”