President Donald Trump’s niece Mary Trump claims that a settlement agreement she reached with the family in 2001 was fraudulent and can’t be used to try to stop her plans to publish a tell-all book.
Robert Trump, the president’s brother, says that Mary Trump is bound by a non-disclosure agreement she signed in the settlement of a dispute over the estate of Fred Trump Sr., the family patriarch.
He is seeking a court order to stop the release of the book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, set to be published by Simon & Schuster on July 28. A hearing is scheduled for July 10.
In a filing on Thursday, Mary Trump and her attorneys contend that the settlement was based on fraudulent information. They cited a New York Times investigation into the Trump family taxes.
“The 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 an affidavit. “I relied on the false valuations provided to me by my uncles and aunt, and would never have entered into the Agreement had I known the true value of the assets involved.”
In another filing, her attorneys, led by Theodore Boutrous of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, also contends that the efforts to stop the book would be a prior restraint, which courts have long held is prohibited under the First Amendment.
“The financial terms of the settlement agreement were long ago performed, and the confidentiality provision cannot be interpreted as a perpetual ban on these family members’ ability to speak publicly about issues of public concern, in particular where one of those family members has voluntarily made his life a public issue by running for and becoming president of the United States,” her attorneys wrote.
Her legal team also wrote that she no longer has the power to stop the book’s publication. They wrote that “tens of thousands of books already have been printed and shipped to retailers “who will sell the book to the public regardless of any injunction this Court might impose on Simon & Schuster.”
“Ms. Trump’s words have already taken wing. Injunctive relief thus would be ineffectual,” they wrote.
Simon & Schuster is also a defendant in the litigation, but an appellate judge earlier this week removed a temporary restraining order against the publisher, clearing the way for it to proceed with plans for the book. A temporary restraining order remains in place against Mary Trump through the July 10 hearing.
In their latest filings, Mary Trump’s attorneys also argue that Robert Trump had not met another standard for injunction relief.
“Thus, New York has made clear that a prior restraint must be justified by immediate and irreparable ‘public injury,'” they wrote. “It is not enough for a plaintiff seeking a prior restraint to show that he personally will be harmed; he must show that the public at large will be harmed by the speech.”
Robert Trump’s attorney, Charles Harder, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But earlier this week, at the time that a judge issued the temporary restraining order, he said in a statement, “The actions of Mary Trump and Simon & Schuster are truly reprehensible. We look forward to vigorously litigating this case, and will seek the maximum remedies available by law for the enormous damages caused by Mary Trump’s breach of contract and Simon & Schuster’s intentional interference with that contract. Short of corrective action to immediately cease their egregious conduct, we will pursue this case to the very end.”
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