Judge blocks release of tell-all book by Donald Trump niece

Brenda Watkins
July 1, 2020

A tell-all book by President Donald Trump's niece can not be published until a judge decides the merits of claims by the president's brother that its publication would violate a pact among family members, a judge said Tuesday.

The president's brother, Robert Trump, had initially asked a court in Queens to issue the temporary restraining order, which was rejected.

Robert Trump, the president's brother, filed a suit last week in NY in Queens County Surrogate court, where the estate of the president's father, Fred Trump Sr., was settled after his death in 1999. His order lasts until the conclusion of the case.

The judge ordered each side to submit papers in the next seven days so he can make a ruling whether to grant a permanent injunction ahead of the scheduled publication date of July 28. Instead, he said the merits of Robert Trump's petition deserved to be heard in court before the book can be published.

Mary's attorney vowed to immediately appeal.

"The trial court's temporary restraining order is only temporary but it still is a prior restraint on core political speech that flatly violates the First Amendment", Boutrous said.

A spokesperson for Simon & Schuster also said the publisher planned to appeal and expected to prevail due to "well-established precedents regarding prior restraint".

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According to the publisher the book "shines a bright light on the dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man who now threatens the world's health, economic security, and social fabric". As part of a settlement agreement, the complaint says, the family members - including Mary Trump - could not publish any accounts of the litigation that had ensued or their relationships with each other.

Robert Trump argues Mary Trump must comply with a written agreement among family members who settled a dispute over Fred Trump's will that a book about them can not be published without their permission.

Robert Trump's lawyer, Charles Harder, issued a statement praising the order and promising that Robert Trump "will seek the maximum remedies available by law for the enormous damages caused by Mary Trump's breach of contract and Simon & Schuster's intentional interference with that contract".

"Short of corrective action to immediately cease their egregious conduct, we will pursue this case to the very end", Harder added.

"In my over 30 years working in book publishing, I am not aware of a book that was ever enjoined and censured from the public for any reason", Karp said.

The ruling comes shortly after the publication of a memoir by former national security adviser John Bolton, portions of which were widely released even after the Justice Department was fighting its publication in court. The family's claims are based upon contracts Mary L. Trump signed when the estate of Trump patriarch Fred C. Trump was settled.

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