Trump’s niece lobbies against effort to ban publication of her book

Mary L. Trump, whose pending revealing memoirs about her uncle, President Trump, sparked a court fight on the eve of the publication, first spoke publicly about the battle, saying her book has “profound national relevance” and that The legal contract the family has tried to use this month to stop their release was based on fraud.

Almost 20 years ago, Mrs. Trump, 55, signed a complicated settlement agreement with Mr. Trump and his two brothers that ended a tough yearlong dispute over the will of the family patriarch, the father. from the president, Fred Trump Sr. The provisions of the agreement were a confidentiality clause that protected the details of the pact and allowed Trump to keep his part of his inheritance.

But in an affidavit filed in New York Thursday night in the book fight, Trump claimed he consented to the deal, and gave up his interests in various family properties, only because Donald J. Trump and his brothers lied to him. . her about how much they were worth.

“I trusted the false valuations my uncles and aunt provided me and I would never have entered into the agreement if I had known the true value of the assets involved,” he wrote. “I never believed that the resolution agreement that resolved discreet financial disputes could restrict me from telling my life story or publishing a book.”

Ms. Trump’s affidavit and a corresponding motion from her attorney, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., were the latest salvo in the fast-moving case. The dispute began last week when President Trump’s brother Robert S. Trump asked a probate judge in Queens to stop publication of Ms. Trump’s book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the most dangerous man in the world. ” It is scheduled to be released in late July.

After the judge rejected the request because his court lacked jurisdiction, Robert Trump again attempted to stop the release with a second motion filed in Dutchess County, NY

On Tuesday, a Dutchess County judge, Hal B. Greenwald, temporarily halted the publication, even though the book has already been printed, and is a pre-publication best seller on Amazon, according to its publisher, Simon & Schuster. .

Then on Wednesday, a New York appeals court judge reversed Judge Greenwald’s decision, ruled that Simon & Schuster could go ahead with their publication plans, but left unresolved the question of whether Trump broke their deal with their family.

In her affidavit, Ms. Trump said she only discovered what she believes to be her family’s lies when The New York Times published an expanding investigation into the Trump family’s finances in late 2018. Had she known the truth Boutrous wrote, Mrs. Trump would not have signed the agreement and would not be part of the confidentiality pact.

“Because the Settlement Agreement was based on and induced by fraud,” Boutrous concluded, “it cannot be enforced and it cannot prohibit the publication of Ms. Trump’s book.”

According to Simon & Schuster, Ms. Trump’s book will reveal her family’s “dark history” in an effort to explain how President Trump “became the man who now threatens the health, economic security and social fabric of the world”. In her presentation Thursday night, Boutrous added that Mrs. Trump, a clinical psychologist, “will speak about the character and aptitude of the president for office.”

While the details of the book remain a secret, the manuscript is likely to deepen the family tensions that have divided the Trumps for years.

Mary Trump’s father, Fred Trump Jr., turned his back on his own father’s real estate business, staying permanently away from him, to work for Trans World Airlines. She suffered alcoholism and died in 1981 at age 42.

When Fred Trump Sr. died in 1999, he almost eliminated Fred Trump Jr.’s children, Mary and his brother, Fred Trump III, from his will, leaving them with only a small cash legacy. Ms. Trump and her brother challenged the will and sued Donald Trump and his brothers, arguing that they poisoned Fred Trump Sr. against them and forced him to change the way he distributed his fortune.

In the unpleasant court fight that followed, Donald Trump and his brother and sister, at one point, cut medical benefits for the baby of Fred Trump III, who was born with serious health problems that required expensive and intense care.

The legal battle was resolved in 2001 with the settlement agreement in which Mary Trump and Fred Trump III sold their interests in various family properties to their uncles and brothers for an undisclosed sum. A confidentiality clause was included in the document, the scope of which is now in dispute.

In his documents released Thursday, Boutrous claimed it was absurd that the deal’s secrecy provision could be interpreted as a “lifelong gag order” that could prevent Trump from writing about his family now. Donald Trump, as Boutrous noted, has given interviews about his sister, Maryanne, and his brother, Fred Jr. Dozens of books, Boutrous noted, have been written about the Trumps, including nearly 20 that the president wrote himself. .

Furthermore, Boutrous said, Trump only signed the settlement agreement because her uncle and brothers cheated on her and her brother. Under the agreement, Mary and Fred Trump III signed their interests in several family real estate properties, including Beach Haven and Shore Haven apartment leases considered two of the “crown jewels” of the Fred Trump Sr. empire.

Boutrous claimed that the Trump family “significantly and deliberately underestimated” property evaluations, prompting Mrs. Trump and her brother to accept a purchase in which they were cheated for millions of dollars.

Robert Trump’s attorney, Charles Harder, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.