Max Miller, an Ohio congressional candidate and all-around “great guy” according to Donald Trump, filed a defamation suit against former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham on Tuesday. Grisham, Miller’s ex-girlfriend who is on a media tour promoting her tell-all book, has claimed Miller physically abused her during their relationship.
Allegations of Miller’s abuse began circulating Washington in July, when Politico reported that Miller had pushed Grisham against a wall and slapped her across the face after she accused him of infidelity last year, according to the accounts of three people familiar with their relationship.
On Tuesday morning, Grisham published an op-ed in The Washington Post, writing that she told then-President Donald Trump and then-first lady Melania Trump that an unnamed ex “had become violent” but both “seemed totally unfazed about whether there was an abuser—another abuser—in their workplace.”
The former president has endorsed Miller in his bid to unseat Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH). Now 32, Miller has a lengthy rap sheet of arrests accrued in his 20s, including ones for violent crimes. Grisham called Trump’s endorsement of Miller “a gut punch.” Miller has denied wrongdoing via his lawyer: “Mr. Miller has never, ever assaulted Ms. Grisham in any way whatsoever.”
Hours after the op-ed published, Miller filed a suit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, asking a Cleveland judge to force Grisham not to repeat the claims she’d made in the Post during an interview with CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Chris Cuomo she had scheduled that afternoon.
However, Grisham told Tapper there had been “abuse in every way” in her and Miller’s relationship. “If there’s anything I can take away,” she said, “I’m almost stronger than ever now, and no one is ever going to abuse me again in any way, shape, or form.”
Miller’s attorney, Larry Zukerman, filed a 13-page complaint saying Grisham made “libelous and defamatory statements” about Miller in her Post op-ed and claims she has no proof of the alleged misconduct. The documents asserted Grisham had made the claims to sell copies of her tell-all memoir, I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw At The Trump White House, which also hit shelves Tuesday. She reiterates the allegations against Miller in the book, though she does not name him.
“I didn’t put his name in there on purpose because I’ve moved on,” she told Tapper on Tuesday.
Miller’s defamation suit seeks punitive damages from Grisham and requests a preliminary injunction on her repeating the claims and a restraining order against her.
Judge Emily Hagan denied the ex parte request for an immediate temporary restraining order and set a hearing for Oct. 13.
Grisham first worked as Melania Trump’s press secretary before assuming the same role in the White House. She never held a press conference while in the position, the only White House press secretary in history not to do so.
In a profile in New York magazine published Tuesday, she expressed remorse over her stint in the White House: “I don’t think I can rebrand. I think this will follow me forever. I believe that I was part of something unusually evil, and I hope that it was a one-time lesson for our country and that I can be a part of making sure that at least that evil doesn’t come back now.”