What Bloomberg Should Have Said About the Non-Disclosure Agreements


This morning, a zillion pundits are telling us how badly Bloomberg performed last night. They are right, of course.

Folks who know about high stakes business litigation have seen this movie before. Marvin Moneybags hires several people, at a combined cost of several thousand dollars an hour, to help him prepare for his testimony. They give good advice.

Marvin Moneybags does not take their advice because he is Marvin Moneybags, and he has some serious blind spots. Because of Marvin’s blind spots, some things that make perfect sense to Marvin Moneybags don’t make any sense to anyone else.

I have seen this movie. In fact, I have been in this movie. Marvin Moneybags testifies, ignoring the expensive advice he received, and he makes himself look like a jerk.

Such was Bloomberg’s contention that the women who signed the non-disclosure agreements wanted them to continue, and he would respect their wishes. He said that several times. It sounded worse and worse, every time he said it.

What He Should Have Said

Some talking heads this morning said he had no good answer, so he should have “pivoted” to some other women-related issue.

I think that is wrong. What he should have said, I think, is this:

“Back in the 1990’s I said some things I should not have said. Some people sued me. I settled the cases by paying money in exchange for their dropping the lawsuits and signing non-disclosure agreements.

“And will I now waive my legal rights under these NDSs? No, I will not do that, and let me tell you why I won’t do it. Because, if I did that, then we would spend the next weeks and months debating about exactly what I said to some folks back in the 1990s—instead of focusing on how to defeat a criminal who wants to overthrow the republic, put his enemies in jail, and let the world burn to a crisp.

“Can we just have a little perspective here, please?”