A.J. Delgado feels she has been misled by Jason Miller since the two first started dating while working as high-profile spokespeople for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
At the start of their relationship in October 2016 — when she became “a mistress without knowing it,” she said — Miller told her that he was separated from his wife and regularly spoke with Delgado about the stress the couple’s split was causing him. He confided in Delgado about meetings he apparently had with divorce accountants and told her he was worried that his wife might move away with their daughter.
“I thought I was dating somebody who was legally separated, which people do all the time,” she said. “I never gave it a second thought, and there was no reason to.”
But that wasn’t the case, Delgado later learned. Miller and his wife were still married, and expecting a child.
So, too, was Delgado, who found out she and Miller were pregnant not long after the 2016 election.
Now, a year and a half later, Delgado is locked in a bitter custody battle with Miller over their son that began nearly nine months ago: A “no end in sight” series of expensive court proceedings that Delgado thinks is largely fueled by Miller’s desire for retaliation.
“I think the motivation is revenge,” she told TPM by phone on Saturday. “He refuses to speak to me, we haven’t spoken since this came out. … He blames me for not terminating the pregnancy or not keeping it confidential, like how dare I not hide it? His wife obviously has a tremendous deal of resentment toward me and her family has attacked me on social media. This is their way of getting back at me, but it doesn’t make sense to spend this much time and money to do that.”
While Delgado says she did not want to have to speak out publicly regarding her affair again after she gave an interview to the Atlantic in August, she said she’s driven by her desire to bring awareness to the broader issue of “corruption” within the family law system, especially in Miami-Dade County in Florida, where she’s currently living.
Miller did not return TPM’s requests for comment about Delgado’s claims prior to publication. After publication, Miller provided the following response: “No child should have to see family matters played out in the public eye, and that is why I have refrained from responding even when attacked. I love our son very much and have been a constant presence in his life, as has my wife and two daughters.”
When word of the affair and pregnancy surfaced in December 2016, Delgado left the Trump orbit and moved to Florida, where she did some non-profit legal work and focused on her pregnancy. Miller, who was on the cusp of moving into the coveted gig of White House communications director when the scandal broke, reportedly stepped away from the role, claiming he needed to focus on his family. (Delgado said she heard Miller did not initially accept the White House’s decision and had to be forced out.)
Miller is now the managing director at Teneo Strategies and appears as a paid contributor on CNN.
Now, with an eight-and-a-half month old son, William Linares Delgado, A.J. Delgado is working her way back into the political sphere, currently serving as a senior adviser for a Trump super PAC from Florida. In her new gig, she said she makes a “decent income” – a little more than the $120,000 a year she earned doing non-profit work. But she can’t afford the average $20,000 a month in legal fees that have been mounting since Miller dragged her to court the day after their son was born.
“I don’t even make that in gross income, forget net,” she said, adding that in total she owes about $100,000 in attorney fees. She had legal representation for several months, but, since February, doesn’t have a lawyer representing her in the case because she couldn’t afford the retainer, she said.
Throughout the entire pregnancy, Delgado said Miller was silent. He never contacted her to see if she and the baby were healthy and, she claims, didn’t acknowledge the child’s existence until he found out it was a boy.
After giving birth in the summer of 2017, Delgado had been out of the hospital for just five days when she was slapped with a court order demanding a paternity test, on July 18, 2017. Still recovering from the c-section delivery, Delgado attempted to push back on the order and provided the court with a letter from her pediatrician at the time, who said it was in the best interest of the newborn to not be subjected to a paternity test until he was two months old, according to Delgado and a copy of the letter shared with TPM.
According to Delgado, the physician’s concerns were ignored and the judge granted the request, ordering her to comply with the test within seven days.
“I had no choice but to have it done on the 25th, with my c-section scar still fresh and Will’s eyes barely open. If not, I would be arrested,” she said.
The court proceedings have been a “hellish” nightmare for Delgado ever since.
According to Delgado, Miller has asked for 50-50 custody of the child, a move she called “bizarre,” “worrisome” and borderline “abusive,” given the fact that the two former Trump campaign staffers live in separate states.
As the litigation expenses began to pile up, Delgado said she sent Miller a written letter in October to attempt to resolve the issue out of court, but she said her plea was ignored.
Miller has filed about 200 pleadings thus far, according to the case court docket, a move Delgado sees as an attempt to block the battle from going to trial and to drain her financially until she is “priced out.”
She compared her plight to the popular dystopian novel and TV series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” drawing parallels between the “rich couple” that decided they want to take the child. In court testimony – a portion of which Delgado shared on Twitter – Miller claimed that he didn’t want his son to be raised in a single mother home because he, himself had been raised by a single mom and he didn’t want Will to “go through that.”
Here's Jason Miller saying outright he doesn't want Will growing up w/ a single mother (apparently just because his own mother was awful at it).
I'm living a real-life version of the handmaid's tale, w/ the rich couple trying to snatch the boy they couldn't make themselves pic.twitter.com/rtdVZPwtsQ
— A.J. Delgado (@AJDelgado13) April 5, 2018
“I’m sorry if his mom was not a good single mother, I really am, but Will has an amazing life,” she said. “I know conservatives might get mad, but I think there are perks to growing up with a single mother. … Living with me and mom and our four dogs, there’s no arguments, no other men or kids in my life, no spouse to bicker with and we just get to have fun and love on each other. A single mother who dotes on him all day, how horrible.”
Delgado said she knows there are other women, who may be worse off financially than she is, who are attempting to navigate the family law court system, which she feels is not only sexist, but also elitist. In her experience, family court favors the wealthier parent who can afford not only the legal fees, but is also able to hire experts and witnesses to testify on their behalf.
According to Delgado, Miller has brought in paid psychologists who have not only argued in Miller’s defense, but also blatantly tried to discredit her. She said going into debt — “I have peanuts in my checking account,” she said — instead of saving for her son’s future, is due, in part, to the fact that the family court system appears to allow the cases to be done “piecemeal style.” If Miller would allow the case to go to trial, all the issues would be resolved at once, she said.
“I’m disgusted by what the justice system is able to do,” she said, claiming she feels as though she has to constantly fight against the appearance of looking like an “angry gatekeeper mom” in court while Miller faces no such burden. During one hearing a few months back, she said Miller “stormed out” of the courtroom when he didn’t get his way.
“If I had done that, I would have lost the case,” she said.
Despite the debt and the bias she said she’s facing with each new pleading, she’s staying put.
“I think he’s hoping I will tap out, but even if I can’t afford an Uber, I will walk barefoot to the court house,” she said. “I will be there to the bitter end.”
[ed.note: This article has been updated with Jason Miller’s response.]