A New York City judge has dismissed a claim by President Donald Trump’s brother that sought to halt the publication of a tell-all book by the president’s niece.
In a ruling handed down on Thursday, Judge Peter Kelly said the Surrogates Court – a court that normally handles probates, estates and the affairs of decendants – lacked jurisdiction in the case.
Ted Boutrous, a prominent First Amendment lawyer who represented Mary Trump, praised the court’s decision in a statement.
“The court has promptly and correctly held that it lacks jurisdiction to grant the Trump family’s baseless request to suppress a book of utmost public importance,” Boutrous said. “We hope this decision will end the matter.”
“Democracy thrives on the free exchange of ideas,” Boutrous added, “and neither this court nor any other has authority to violate the Constitution by imposing a prior restraint on core political speech.”
The court has dismissed the Trump family’s lawsuit seeking to block Mary Trump’s book. https://t.co/izuAA49SBW. My statement: “The court has promptly and correctly held that it lacks jurisdiction to grant the Trump family’s baseless request to suppress a book . . . 1/2
— Ted Boutrous (@BoutrousTed) June 25, 2020
In court filings, Robert Trump’s lawyers argued that Mary and others had signed a settlement agreement in the late 1990s that included a confidentially clause explicitly saying they would not “publish any account concerning the litigation or their relationship”, unless they all agreed.
The settlement agreement related to the will of Donald Trump’s father, New York real estate developer Fred Trump.
Mary is the daughter of Fred Trump Jr, the president’s elder brother, who died in 1981. An online description of her book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, says it reveals “a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse”.
“She explains how specific events and general family patterns created the damaged man who currently occupies the Oval Office, including the strange and harmful relationship between Fred Trump and his two oldest sons, Fred Jr. and Donald,” the description says.
Robert Trump was seeking an injunction to prevent Mary and the book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, from releasing it, as scheduled, in July.
His lawyers said on Thursday they would continue their legal efforts by filing a lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court.