Trump’s brother asks another court to halt niece’s ‘tell-all’ book |
Jun 27, 2020 |
New York (AP) – Donald Trump’s brother has asked another court to halt publication of a tell-all book by the president’s niece, after his first bid was rejected by a New York City judge.
Robert Trump’s lawyers say the niece, Mary Trump, signed a legal settlement with several Trump family members nearly two decades ago that included a confidentiality clause barring her from publishing the book.
They said the deal included a “substantial financial settlement” for Mary Trump.
Surrogates Court Judge Peter Kelly in New York City dismissed Robert Trump’s request for an injunction Thursday, saying the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.
Robert Trump’s lawyers filed another injunction request Friday in Supreme Court in Dutchess County, New York, where Robert Trump lives.
President Trump is the product of “a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse,” writes niece Mary L. Trump.
Charles Harder, lead attorney for Robert Trump, said in a statement Saturday:
“Mary Trump reaped the rewards of the agreement for 20 years, and now seeks to breach the agreement by cashing in on a “tell-all” book.
“The enforcement of voluntary contracts is a pillar of our legal system. This private dispute has nothing to do with the First Amendment.”
The settlement agreement related to the will of Donald Trump’s father, New York real estate developer Fred Trump.
Mary Trump is the daughter of Fred Trump Jr., the president’s elder brother, who died in 1981.
An online description of her book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” says it reveals “a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse.”
Her lawyer, Theodore Boutrous, said in a statement that the new legal filing “is yet another baseless attempt by the Trump family to obtain an unconstitutional prior restraint to block core political speech relating to the President.”
Published accounts of the book’s contents say it contains an “insider’s perspective” of “countless holiday meals” and family interactions and family events, along with personal observations by Mary Trump, a psychologist, about her “supposedly toxic family,” according to court papers.
In court papers, lawyers for Robert Trump said the book also has been promoted as containing insight into the “inner workings” of the Trump family and allegations that the late Fred Trump and the president neglected Mary Trump’s father, “supposedly contributing to his early death.”
Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump
Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man is an upcoming tell-all book written by Mary L. Trump, the niece of Donald Trump.
The book is scheduled to be published on July 28, 2020, by Simon & Schuster. The book details how the author was the anonymous source who revealed Trump family tax returns to The New York Times; the reporting won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize.
Mary L. Trump, a clinical psychologist, is the oldest child of Fred Trump Jr., and the oldest grandchild of Fred Trump Sr. Mary’s father died in 1981 at the age of 42 from a heart attack due to alcoholism.
Following the death of Fred Sr. in 1999, Mary and her brother, Fred III, contested Fred Sr.’s will in probate court, claiming that Fred Sr. was suffering from dementia, and the will was “procured by fraud and undue influence” by Fred Sr.’s other children, Donald, Maryanne, and Robert.
A week later, Donald, Maryanne, and Robert terminated the medical coverage for Fred III’s son, William, an 18-month old with epileptic spasms. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Mary said that her “aunt and uncles should be ashamed of themselves. I’m sure they are not.”
The suit was settled, with William’s health insurance reinstated. Donald in 2016 explained his actions: “I was angry because they sued.”
After her uncle’s presidential campaign, Mary Trump came into contact with The New York Times, and provided tax documents from the Trump family as an anonymous source.
The documents were used for a 2018 article that detailed financial fraud by Trump that won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for David Barstow, Susanne Craig, and Russ Buettner.
Barstow pursued Mary Trump with an offer to ghostwrite a book for her. He introduced her to Andrew Wylie, his agent, who offered her a multi-million dollar advance.
Craig and Buettner were angry to find out about this, and the editors of the Times forbade Barstow from writing the book due to its ethical guidelines.
She ended up working with Jay Mandel of WME, and sold her book to Simon & Schuster at an auction.
Simon & Schuster initially set a release date of August 11, 2020, and gave the exclusive report about it to The Daily Beast, which published an article about the book on June 15.
Two days later, the book reached No. 5 on Amazon’s bestseller list. The response to the article led them to move the publication date up to July 28.
Donald Trump, according to The Daily Beast, discussed the possibility of taking legal action against Mary. Donald told Axios that Mary had previously signed a “very powerful” non-disclosure agreement that “covers everything”, therefore according to Donald, she was “not allowed to write a book”.
Robert Trump filed suit on June 23, attempting to secure a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order to block publication, citing Mary’s non-disclosure agreement. In a hearing on June 25, Judge Peter J. Kelly of the Queens County Surrogate Court in New York, dismissed the case over lack of jurisdiction.
The book reportedly covers how Mary provided The New York Times with confidential tax documents from the Trump family, resulting in the Times alleging that Donald engaged in fraud, as well as reporting that Donald transferred approximately $413 million from his father’s real estate businesses to aid his own struggling businesses during the 1990s.
Mary reportedly alleges in the book that Donald and Fred Sr. neglected her father and contributed to his death from alcoholism; also reportedly alleged is that Donald had disparaged Fred Sr. upon the onset of Fred Sr.’s Alzheimer’s disease.