Robert Trump, the president’s brother, had sought a court action to stop the publication of the book, Too Much And Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. He claimed that Mary Trump was bound by a confidentiality agreement that was included in the 2001 settlement of the estate of Fred Trump Sr., the family patriarch.
But Judge Hal Greenwald wrote that the confidentiality clause was too broad, concluding that it had “too many words, with too many meanings. The cost of the litigation that was settled should have been finalized with more specifics, more clarity, if the current situation was even comprehended, at the time the Agreement was signed.”
Simon & Schuster is due to release the book on Tuesday.
In his decision (read it here), Greenwald also wrote that efforts to stop the book were futile. Earlier this month, an appellate judge lifted a restraining order against Simon & Schuster, freeing them to publish the book. The publisher moved up its release date by two weeks and a number of reporters obtained advance copies last week. (Read Deadline’s review here).
Theodore Boutrous Jr. of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who is representing Mary Trump, said in a statement, “The court got it right in rejecting the Trump family’s effort to squelch Mary Trump’s core political speech on important issues of public concern. The First Amendment forbids prior restraints because they are intolerable infringements on the right to participate in democracy. Tomorrow, the American public will be able to read Mary’s important words for themselves.”
In his decision, Greenwald wrote that Robert Trump failed to meet several of the requirements for granting a preliminary injunction — a showing that he would suffer irreparable harm by the publication of the book, and likelihood of success on the merits. Greenwald also wrote that the “balance of equities” were not in his favor.
He wrote that the settlement of Fred Trump’s estate “was a stipulation that settled multiple lawsuits and in exchange consideration was paid out, no specific consideration was paid for confidentiality. Further, what was confidential was the financial aspect of the Agreement, which may not be so interesting now as it might have been in 2001. On the other hand the non-confidential part of the Agreement, the Trump family relationships may be more interesting now in 2020 with a presidential election on the horizon.”
Greenwald even quoted a recent federal court ruling that denied Justice Department efforts to stop the publication of John Bolton’s new book The Room Where It Happened, which also was published by Simon & Schuster yet obtained by reporters in the week before its release date.
“Comparing the potential enormous cost and logistical nightmare of stopping the publication, recalling and removing hundreds of thousands of books from all types of booksellers, brick and mortar and virtual, libraries and private citizens, is an insurmountable task at this time,” he wrote. “To quote United States v. Bolton … ‘By the looks of it the horse is not just out of the barn, it is out of the country.'”
Trump’s book is a mixture of anecdote and analysis, going back in the family history to show how the president, in her eyes, spent a career failing upward and ascribing to him a number of potential personality disorders. The White House has dismissed the tome as a “book of falsehoods.”
In a statement, Simon & Schuster said of the court’s decision, “The unfettered right to publish is a sacred American freedom and a founding principle of our republic, and we applaud the Court for affirming well-established precedents against prior restraint and pre-publication injunctions. Too Much And Never Enough His a work of great significance, with very real implications for our national discourse, and we look forward to bringing it to a public that is clearly eager to read it.”