Hollywood Lawyer Bert Fields Recalled the Time He Fired Donald Trump (Exclusive Book Excerpt)

“Yes, I fired the guy who became president of the United States,” the late legendary attorney to the stars wrote in his memoir, “Summing Up”

bert fields Donald Trump
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The late entertainment attorney Bert Fields, who died on Sunday, handled the legal disputes of some of the biggest and brightest names in Hollywood, including Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson, George Lucas, Harvey Weinstein and even The Beatles. But there is one industry big-wig that he had to let go because of, as Fields put it, “his deceitful behavior.”

Below is an excerpt from Fields’ “Summing Up: A Professional Memoir,” in which he tells in his own words what went down with the future president that was his breaking point. Fields worked with TheWrap on this blog before he became ill. It is being published now with his wife Barbara Guggenheim’s permission.

I once represented Donald Trump or, more accurately, his company. Yes, that Donald Trump. It was about some real estate litigation. I fired him. Yes, I fired the guy who became president of the United States.

After I had represented Donald’s company for a time, an opportunity to acquire the Miss Universe pageant became available. There was to be an auction of the rights; and Donald and a longtime client of mine separately expressed their interest in acquiring the Miss Universe rights.

Rather than see the two bidding against each other, I suggested that they join together in acquiring the rights. Both seemed to like the idea, and we scheduled a breakfast meeting at my client’s Park Avenue apartment.

During the first part of the meeting, we spoke of the two acquiring the rights together. Later, however, Donald began to say he might decide not to be involved with the pageant, but that he was sure the rights would never go for as much as $10 million and he would keep my client informed as to what he thought would be a winning bid.

Some time after that, my client got a call from Donald telling him that he had definitely decided not to participate in the bidding for the pageant. Naturally, my other client bid the amount Donald said would do the job. Sadly, he was informed that his was only the second highest bid. Someone had bid $10 million. Who was the successful bidder? Donald Trump! Not only that, his lawyers had apparently prepared the documents for Donald to buy the rights even before our breakfast meeting. Donald had simply lied from the beginning in order to keep my client from making a competitive bid.

I immediately wrote Donald a letter telling him that, in light of his deceitful behavior I would no longer represent him, or his company. (See letter below)

Bert Fields Donald Trump letter
Courtesy of Barbara Guggenheim

Donald’s partners in the real estate litigations and Donald’s key associate urged me to relent — to continue with the case. I refused, saying that under no circumstances would I ever represent Donald Trump or his company again.

Fortunately, I had put my firing of Donald in writing, because, two years later, he wrote a book in which, among other lies, he said, “Bert Fields…I fired him…he’s highly overrated.”

I wrote the publisher telling them this was simply another lie, and a defamatory one at that. At first they said Donald stood by the quote. But when I sent the publisher my letter firing Donald, they quickly said that his statement about me would be deleted in all future printings of the book.

For a day or two I contemplated suing Donald for libel. But I decided that the less interaction I had with him, the better I’d feel.

From “Summing Up: A Professional Memoir.” Used with the permission of the publisher, Marmont Lane Books. Copyright © 2020 by Bert Fields