Politics

Trump brother files new lawsuit seeking to block niece Mary Trump's tell-all book about family

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Key Points
  • President Donald Trump's brother has, as expected, filed a new lawsuit seeking to permanently block publication of their niece's new tell-all book about the wealthy family, a day after a judge in another New York state court tossed out his initial effort on jurisdiction grounds.
  • Robert Trump's latest court action targeting Mary Trump's forthcoming book was filed in Dutchess County [New York] Court, where he lives, and where his brother, the president, owns a golf course.
  • Mary's book, "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man," is scheduled to be published July 28 by Simon & Schuster.
  • Robert and Donald Trump have said Mary has a non-disclosure agreement with them and their sister, retired federal appeals judge Maryanne Trump Barry.
Republican president-elect Donald Trump (R) hugs his brother Robert Trump after delivering his acceptance speech at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

President Donald Trump's brother has, as expected, filed a new lawsuit seeking to permanently block publication of their niece's new tell-all book about the wealthy family, a day after a judge in another New York state court tossed out his first such effort on jurisdiction grounds.

Robert Trump's latest court action targeting Mary Trump's forthcoming book, on the grounds that it allegedly would violate a nondisclosure agreement, was filed in Dutchess County [New York] Supreme Court. Robert Trump lives in that county, and his brother, the president, owns a golf course there.

Robert Trump's filing, which names both Mary Trump and publisher Simon & Schuster as defendants, was expected after his first attempt to stop the book was summarily dismissed Thursday in Queens County Surrogate's Court, a venue that as a rule handled issues relating to wills and estates of dead people.

Charles Harder had told CNBC on Thursday that the new case would be filed in a New York state Supreme Court, which handles lawsuits and criminal matters at a trial level in that state.

Harder, who has also represented President Trump on other issues, in a email to CNBC on Saturday said,  "Almost 20 years ago, several Trump family members, including Robert and Mary, settled a legal dispute.  It included an agreement to never publish any books about their family relationships.  All five agreed that any breach would be enjoined by a court."

"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," Harder said. 

"The enforcement of voluntary contracts is a pillar of our legal system. This private dispute has nothing to do with the First Amendment."

Mary Trump's lawyer, Theodore Boutrous, in an email said the new lawsuit "is yet another baseless attempt by the Trump family to obtain an unconstitutional prior restraint to block core political speech relating to the President."

"It will fail," Boutrous said.

Mary's book, "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man," is scheduled to be published July 28. Mary is the daughter of Fred Trump Jr., the president's older brother, who died when Mary was a teenager.

Like the prior court filing in Queens County, Robert Trump argues in his suit that the book will violate that nondisclosure agreement that Mary signed in 2001 with him, Donald Trump and their sister, retired federal appeals Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, following a legal dispute over the will of the elder Trumps' late father, Fred Trump Sr.

Mary is "not allowed to write a book," President Trump recently said.

Robert's suit says the confidentiality pact bars all people who signed the NDA from writing about their legal dispute over Fred Sr.'s will, or about "their relationship with each other."

Mary L. Trump book
Source: Amazon.com

On Thursday, Queens County Surrogate's Court Judge Peter Kelly dismissed Robert Trump's injunction request just two days after it was filed, without waiting for a response from Mary's lawyers.

Kelly noted that the filing was "fatally defective" because, among other things, it was lodged in connection with a probate proceeding in Surrogate's Court for the estate of real estate developer Fred Trump Sr., which terminated in 2001, and which as a result is "non-existent" in that court.

Mary Trump, a 55-year-old clinical psychologist, is expected to identify herself in the book as the primary source for an explosive series in The New York Times about President Trump's finances. The series won the Pulitzer Prize.

Simon & Schuster has said the book is a "revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him."

Simon & Schuster, in a statement Thursday, had said, "We look forward to publishing Mary L. Trump's TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH, and are confident we will prevail should there be further efforts to stifle this publication."

Reached for comment on Friday, a spokeswoman for the publisher said the prior statement "still stands."