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Ex-Trump aide Mark Meadows sued by book publisher over ‘stolen’ election claims

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Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff during the Trump administration, speaks during a forum titled House Rules and Process Changes for the 118th Congress at FreedomWorks headquarters in Washington, D.C., Nov. 14, 2022.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images

A publisher has sued former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for allegedly “squarely” contradicting a main claim of his own book: that Donald Trump was swindled out of reelection as president in 2020 by widespread ballot fraud.

The lawsuit cites media reports last month that Meadows had told Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith and a federal grand jury that “he had warned” Trump against making claims of election fraud, and “that neither he nor former President Trump actually believed such claims.”

“If such media reports are accurate, Meadows testified under oath that his Book contains known falsehoods,” Meadows’ publisher All Seasons Press says in its suit in Sarasota County court in Florida.

ASP notes that in his 2021 book “The Chief’s Chief,” Meadows had written that “all statements” in the book “are true” and that he “has not made any misrepresentations to the Publisher about the Work.”

The publisher is seeking upward of $3 million in the suit, which alleges that Meadows breached those promises.

ASP says that it suffered “significant monetary and reputational damages” as a result, and that it pulled the book from the market last week. The suit, filed Friday, also claims the public interest in the book “precipitously declined” in mid-2022 after rumors circulated that Meadows was “secretly cooperating with” special counsel Smith.

Meadows’ lawyer, George Terwilliger, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

A spokesman for Meadows, in an email to CNBC, said, “This is a lawsuit predicated on a publicly disputed, anonymously sourced news story. It should be treated as such.”

Meadows was indicted with Trump and 17 other people in August in state court in Atlanta for alleged crimes related to their attempts to overturn Trump’s loss to President Joe Biden in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election.

Meadows has pleaded not guilty in the case, as has Trump and most of the other defendants. But four other defendants, among them lawyers Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell, have pleaded guilty to related crimes.

ASP’s suit says Meadows originally signed an agreement with a different publisher to write his book on Jan. 9, 2021, just three days after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol. The riot occurred after weeks of false claims by Trump and his allies that he had actually won the 2020 contest.

It was only later that ASP obtained the right to publish Meadows’ book, and agreed to pay him $350,000 in three separate installments, the suit notes.

ASP says that it originally believed that Meadows would follow the format of past books by other White House chiefs of staff, who detailed their “times as gatekeepers for the President of the United States.”

Instead, Meadows “chose to emphasize events from the 2020 presidential election through the January 6th Attack.”

“One of the Book’s primary theses is that President Trump was the true winner of the 2020 Presidential Election and that the election was stolen by President Biden through widespread election fraud,” the suit says.

Chapter 15 of Meadows’ book is entitled “The Long Con,” and begins with the brief sentence, “I knew he didn’t lose” in all capital letters, the suit notes.

In another part of the book, Meadows wrote that Trump was “absolutely correct” in claiming that he did not lose the election.

The suit says that in late 2021, ASP advised Meadows that it would withhold his final $116,666 installment for the book until the publisher was satisfied that he had not changed his claim that Trump was the victim of ballot fraud.

That notification came after reports that Meadows had decided to cooperate to some degree with a select House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

In December 2021, Meadows’ lawyers demanded the final payment, calling the allegations that he was cooperating “specious,” the suit says. ASP two months later paid him the last installment, according to the complaint.

On Oct. 24 this year, ABC News reported that Meadows had spoken to Smith’s team “at least three times this year, including once before a federal grand jury, which came only after Smith granted Meadows immunity to testify under oath.”

ABC cited sources “familiar with the matter” for that report, which said, “Meadows informed Smith’s team that he repeatedly told Trump in the weeks after the 2020 presidential election that the allegations of significant voting fraud coming to them were baseless.”

A day after that report, CBS News reported that Meadows was “extensively cooperating with” Smith’s election interference probe of Trump.

CBS obtained a statement from Meadows’ lawyer Terwilliger, who said: “I told ABC that their story was largely inaccurate. People will have to judge for themselves the decision to run it anyway.”

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