Trump Lawyer Sends ‘Art of the Deal’ Ghostwriter a Cease-and-Desist Letter

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Donald J. Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Wednesday. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

CLEVELAND — Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter of Mr. Trump's best-selling autobiography "The Art of the Deal," said on Wednesday that he had received a cease-and-desist letter from Mr. Trump's chief legal counsel over his blistering assessments of the candidate and their work together.

Mr. Schwartz said in an interview with MSNBC that the letter demanded that he forfeit all royalties he had earned from the book.

"It's nuts and completely indicative of who he is," Mr. Schwartz said. "There's no basis of anything legal. I suspect that Donald Trump called up his chief legal officer and said, 'Go after that guy and do whatever you have to do.' "

He added, "So this poor head of legal affairs for the Trump Organization had to concoct stuff — most which of is untrue."

Mr. Schwartz worked with Mr. Trump over 18 months in the 1980s, and his account of that time, published on Monday in a New Yorker article, sent waves through the political world days ahead of Mr. Trump's official acceptance of the Republican presidential nomination. Mr. Schwartz was also interviewed on Monday on "Good Morning America."

Mr. Trump has regularly boasted on the campaign trail about "The Art of the Deal," and it played a part in bolstering his celebrity when it was published in 1987. But Mr. Schwartz told The New Yorker that the book was largely a work of fiction and that he was not sure if Mr. Trump had even read it in its entirety.

Mr. Schwartz, who in the article was speaking publicly for the first time about the book, said that he had "a deep sense of remorse" for contributing to Mr. Trump's rise and that he saw a good possibility that Mr. Trump's presidency would "lead to the end of civilization."

In a copy of the cease-and-desist letter obtained by The New York Times, the lawyer, Jason D. Greenbla tt, demanded that Mr. Schwartz deliver "a certified check made payable to Mr. Trump" and make "written assurances that you will not generate or disseminate any misleading or inaccurate information or make any baseless accusations with respect to Mr. Trump."

In a brief phone interview after the convention speeches ended on Wednesday evening, Mr. Trump painted Mr. Schwartz as a disgruntled former partner.

"He's been trying to get work from me for 30 years," Mr. Trump said. "He wrote me letters" asking for work, he added. "I never liked him."

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