Press Release

Ballard Spahr Advises Simon & Schuster in Legal Battle Over Publication of John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened

June 23, 2020

A team of Ballard Spahr First Amendment litigators advised Simon & Schuster—publisher of The Room Where It Happened by former National Security Advisor John Bolton—through legal challenges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking to stop the book’s publication.

Over the weekend, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied the DOJ’s request to halt publication of the book. The government’s action against Mr. Bolton included an unprecedented application for an injunction that would have bound Simon & Schuster to cease further publication and required recall of books already shipped to retailers domestically and worldwide.

The Ballard Spahr team’s work included providing a comprehensive declaration from Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp, which the court relied on primarily and expressly in denying the government’s application. The firm’s attorneys also coordinated with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press on the filing of a friend-of-the-court brief, joined by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Association of American Publishers, opposing the DOJ’s request, which the court also relied on in its ruling.

The Ballard Spahr team was led by Lee Levine and included Paul J. Safier, Shawn F. Summers, Joe Slaughter, Maxwell S. Mishkin, and David L. Axelrod.

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