Judge Lifts Injunction on Publisher of Tell-All Book by Trump’s Niece

Injunction applies to Mary Trump, but not publisher Simon & Schuster
July 2, 2020 Updated: July 2, 2020

A judge ruled on Wednesday that the publisher of Trump’s niece’s memoir is not bound by a confidentiality agreement that she signed.

As such, publisher Simon & Schuster can print and distribute the 240-page book by Mary Trump, Judge Alan D. Scheinkman of the New York Supreme Court’s appellate division said in a ruling on Wednesday (pdf).

The book, titled “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” was scheduled to be published on June 28. The book reportedly offers an unflattering portrait of her relationship with her uncle and other family members.

The book was promoted to contain an “insider’s perspective” of “countless holiday meals,” “family interactions” and “family events.”

However, its publication was held back on June 30 when a judge issued a temporary restraining order against Mary Trump and Simon & Schuster.

robert and donald trump
Robert Trump and Donald Trump at an event in New York on Nov. 3, 1999. (Diane Bonadreff, File/AP Photo)

The restraining order was requested by President Donald Trump’s brother, Robert Trump, who said that the book would violate a nondisclosure agreement that was part of the estate of President Trump’s father, Fred Trump, after his death in 1999. Mary Trump is Fred Trump’s granddaughter.

Their settlement nearly two decades ago included a confidentiality clause that explicitly states they would not “publish any account concerning the litigation or their relationship,” unless all of them agreed, according to court papers.

Both Mary Trump and her publisher appealed the order less than three hours after it was issued.

Scheinkman’s ruling leaves in place restraints against Mary Trump and any of her agents, blocking them from publishing, printing, or distributing the book, pending the hearing of lawyers for Robert Trump’s motion for a preliminary injunction. A July 10 hearing is scheduled.

“This court is of the view that it is appropriate, in view of the confidentiality provision of the settlement agreement and the showing made in the plaintiff’s papers, for a temporary restraining order to issue as against Ms. Trump to temporarily enforce its terms pending a hearing on the preliminary injunction. The Supreme Court may revisit the restraining order upon its timely review of the defendants’ submissions and its conduct of further proceedings,” Scheinkman wrote.

Judge Says Publisher is Not Mary Trump’s ‘Agent’

But while Mary Trump has entered into a settlement, “S&S is not a party to the settlement agreement,” Scheinkman noted.

“The only basis offered by the plaintiff to extend the temporary restraining order to S&S are the allegations that S&S ‘intends to act’ on Ms. Trump’s behalf in causing the publication of the book and that S&S is acting at Ms. Trump’s direction and in concert with her,” he wrote.

“However, these allegations are conclusory and not supported by any specific factual averments,” Scheinkman contended. “Unlike Ms. Trump, S&S has not agreed to surrender or relinquish any of its First Amendment rights.”

He later added: “While the plaintiff has alleged, in effect, that S&S is Ms. Trump’s agent, the evidence submitted is insufficient for this court to determine whether the plaintiff is likely to succeed in establishing that claim. So, while the plaintiff is entitled to have the temporary restraining order bind any agent of the plaintiff, this court will not name S&S as being such an agent.”

Scheinkman noted that he is ruling after hearing oral arguments from lawyers for Mary Trump and Simon & Schuster, but before lawyers for Robert Trump have submitted opposition papers.

Theodore Boutrous Jr., Mary Trump’s lawyer, said in a statement on Wednesday that the latest ruling is “very good news.”

“We look forward to filing our brief tomorrow in the trial court explaining why the same result is required as to Ms. Trump, based on the First Amendment and basic contract law,” Boutrous said, according to The Hill.

Simon & Schuster said in a statement it was happy with the ruling, which it said would let Mary Trump tell her story. It also said that the book was of “great interest and importance to the national discourse that fully deserves to be published for the benefit of the American public.”

Robert Trump’s lawyer did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Jack Phillips and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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