Mary Trump’s Attorney Says Donald Trump Lawsuit Over New York Times Exposé Is “Doomed To Failure”

375/STAR MAX/IPx 2019

Mary Trump’s attorney says that Donald Trump’s lawsuit against his niece and The New York Times is “doomed to failure” and another effort to stifle freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

“This is the latest in a long line of frivolous lawsuits by Donald Trump that target truthful speech and important journalism on issues of public concern,” said Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., who is representing Mary Trump. “It is doomed to failure like the rest of his baseless efforts to chill freedom of speech and of the press.”

On Monday, Trump sued over the Times‘ 2018 exposé on the Trump family taxes. In his lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court (read it here), Trump claims that his niece, the Times and its reporters “engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records which they exploited for their own benefit and utilized as a means of falsely legitimizing their publicized works.”

The Times investigation alleged that Trump participated in dubious tax schemes in the 1990s that substantially increased the fortune he inherited from his parents’ estates. Among other things, the exposé alleged that Trump set up a sham corporation to shield gifts from his parents from taxes and also helped his father, Fred Trump, take “improper” tax deductions. All told, according to the Times, Trump received $413 million from his father’s real estate businesses.

Mary Trump chronicled her participation in the Times series in her book, Too Much and Never Enough, which when published last year triggered a lawsuit by Donald Trump’s brother Robert. But a New York judge refused to issue a restraining order to block its publication, concluding that a confidentiality clause in an agreement that she signed in 2001 was too broad.

In his lawsuit, the former president also names New York Times reporters Susanne Craig, David Barstow and Russell Buettner. The suit claims include breach of contract and unjust enrichment by Mary Trump and tortious interference with a contract by the Times and its reporters. The lawsuit claims that the exposé caused Trump at least $100 million in damages.

A spokesperson for the Times said, “The Times‘s coverage of Donald Trump’s taxes helped inform citizens through meticulous reporting on a subject of overriding public interest. This lawsuit is an attempt to silence independent news organizations and we plan to vigorously defend against it.”

Some First Amendment advocates agree with Mary Trump’s attorney.

Roy Gutterman, director of the Tully Center for Free Speech and professor at Syracuse University, said in a statement that reporters “are protected to gather information, even things they should not have, such as tax records that were leaked to them.  The Supreme Court has acknowledged that reporters can rely on leaked materials as long as they did not break to law to get them.  There is not a scintilla of evidence that the Times broke the law to collect this information. This is another example of an attempt to use tort law to punish reporters for obtaining leaked information.”

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2021/09/donald-trump-mary-trump-new-york-times-lawsuit-1234842159/