Judge rules Trump niece can publicise book about US president

Judge rules Trump niece can publicise book about US president
Trump

Mary Trump can talk about the highly critical book she wrote about her uncle, Donald Trump, despite objections from the president’s brother, a US judge ruled as he lifted an order which had blocked her from publicising or distributing her work.

State Supreme Court Judge Hal B Greenwald, in Poughkeepsie, New York, rejected arguments by Robert Trump that Ms Trump is blocked from talking about family members publicly by an agreement relatives made to settle the estate of her father after his death.

The judge said the confidentiality clauses in the 2001 agreement, “viewed in the context of the current Trump family circumstances in 2020, would ‘offend public policy as a prior restraint on protected speech'”.

“Notwithstanding that the book has been published and distributed in great quantities, to enjoin Mary L Trump at this juncture would be incorrect and serve no purpose. It would be moot,” he wrote.

The cover of Too Much And Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man, left, and author Mary L Trump (Simon & Schuster, left, and Peter Serling/Simon & Schuster/AP)

Judge Greenwald said the confidentiality agreement that settled multiple lawsuits mainly concerned the financial aspect of the deal, which is not as interesting now as it might have been two decades ago.

“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,” he said.

He also wrote that Robert Trump had not shown any damage that the book’s publication would cause himself or the public.

Robert Trump is not frequently mentioned in the book, which seeks to trace how family members were affected by the president’s father, a successful real estate owner, and how the president may have developed some of the traits that have been most apparent at the White House.

Ms Trump, a trained psychologist and Donald Trump’s only niece, wrote in the book that she had “no problem calling Donald a narcissist – he meets all nine criteria as outlined in the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders.

Robert Trump, left, pictured in 1999, had tried to halt the publication of Mary L Trump’s book, claiming it would violate a pact among family members (Diane Bonadreff/AP)

The judge reversed orders he had issued temporarily blocking Ms Trump and her publisher, Simon & Schuster, from publishing or distributing a tell-all book about the president. An appeals judge had already lifted the order blocking Simon & Schuster.

The book, Too Much And Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man, was originally due to be published at the end of July. The publisher announced last week that it would be published on Tuesday.

Ms Trump’s lawyer, Theodore Boutrous Jr, said the judge “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,” he said in a statement on Monday.

Too Much And Never Enough is 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

Publisher Simon & Shuster

Simon & Schuster said it was “delighted that the court has denied the plaintiff’s request for preliminary injunction, and vacated the temporary restraining order against our author, Mary L Trump.”

It added: “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 is 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.”

Messages seeking comment were left with a lawyer for Robert Trump.

– On the eve of its publication, Ms Trump’s book was ranked No 1 on the Amazon best-seller list.

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