Mary Trump Fires Back in Defense of Right to Publish Memoir
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s niece slammed her family’s attempt to block the release of her upcoming memoir and urged a New York judge not to grant their request for an injunction.
Mary L. Trump on Thursday said in a court filing that she would not have consented to a secrecy deal that was part of a legal settlement two decades ago over the wills of the president’s parents had she known that the financial valuations underlying the agreement were false.
“I never believed that the settlement agreement resolving discrete financial disputes could possibly restrict me from telling the story of my life or publishing a book discussing anything contained in the book, including the conduct and character of my uncle, the sitting President of the United States, during his campaign for re-election,” Mary Trump said in the filing.
The book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” which is due to be published by Simon & Schuster on July 28, will include purported psychological observations about the author’s “toxic” family and other personal information, according to the lawsuit.
Robert S. Trump, her uncle and the president’s brother, sued last month to block the book’s publication. He argued it would violate the 2001 confidentiality agreement signed by family members as part of the settlement of a dispute over the will of Fred Trump, his and the president’s father.
One of Mary Trump’s lawyers said in an affidavit filed with the court that President Trump himself has already written numerous books about his finances, suggesting Mary Trump may argue that elements of the family’s confidentiality had already been eroded.
“A search of book titles using Google search engine demonstrates that President of the United States Donald J. Trump has written at least nine books that contain discussion of his business and financial dealings,” according to the affidavit.
A judge in in Poughkeepsie, New York, on June 30 issued a temporary restraining order on distribution of any material related to the book pending the outcome of the injunction fight. Just a few a days later, an appellate judge lifted the TRO against Simon & Schuster, once again giving the book a green light -- for now. All of the parties will appear at a July 10 hearing.
Several legal experts have said Robert Trump’s injunction request is a long shot under the free-speech protections of the First Amendment, especially since the parties can continue litigating over a possible breach of confidentiality after the book is published.
Mary Trump went public with her planned book on June 15, months after Simon & Schuster won an auction for the rights over nearly a dozen other publishers, according to court filings in the case.
She said in Thursday’s filing that she signed over complete control of the book to Simon & Schuster on May 7 and lost “any ability” to prevent or delay it.
The memoir is expected to reveal Mary Trump’s role as a primary source for the New York Times’s investigation into the president’s taxes, and to detail her claim that the family’s mistreatment of her father, Fred Trump Jr., contributed to his early death.
“Thee New York Times’s detailed analysis and investigation revealed for the first time that the valuations on which I had relied in entering into the settlement agreement, and which were used to determine my compensation under the agreement, were fraudulent,” Mary Trump said in Thursday’s filing.
She also said the underlying legal battle over Fred Trump’s will erupted in 2000 after she and others filed objections in probate court arguing that, among other things, the will “was the product of undue influence and fraud” and that Fred Trump “lacked testamentary capacity or understanding” to execute it.
The president’s niece claims that after she filed objections, the three siblings, including Donald Trump, cut off her health insurance coverage.
Robert Trump’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the allegations of fraud in Mary Trump’s filing.
The clash comes not long after the Trump administration unsuccessfully tried to halt publication of another unflattering book about Trump. Former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir” became a bestseller, though the government is still suing Bolton for allegedly divulging classified information.
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