Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 15 July 2020

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Judge blocks release of book by Donald Trump's niece

Court issues temporary restraining order against Mary Trump and her publisher

A lawyer for Donald Trump's niece said: 'The 20-year-old agreement now invoked by the President’s legal team  is invalid and unenforceable.' AFP
A lawyer for Donald Trump's niece said: 'The 20-year-old agreement now invoked by the President’s legal team  is invalid and unenforceable.' AFP

A tell-all book about the Trump family written by US President Donald Trump’s niece was temporarily blocked from publication by a New York judge, weeks before it was scheduled for release.

New York Justice Hal Greenwald on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order, in effect until July 10, against Mary Trump and her publisher, Simon & Schuster.

The restraining order bars Ms Trump and the publisher from distributing any version of the book or any portion of it “in any medium containing descriptions or accounts” of her relationship with the president or his brother.

Ms Trump was ordered to explain by July 10 why the judge should not issue a longer-lasting injunction against the book, sought by the president’s brother, Robert Trump, who filed the lawsuit.

Mr Greenwald held a hearing on the matter by Skype on Monday, the ruling said.

Charles Harder, one of the president’s lawyers, who is representing Robert Trump in the case, said he was pleased with the decision and called Ms Trump’s attempt to publish the book “reprehensible".

“We look forward to vigorously litigating this case and 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,” Mr Harder said.

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

Mr Harder is arguing the publication of the book breaches a 20-year-old secrecy agreement between members of the Trump family.

But Ms Trump's lawyer, Theodore Boutrous, said: “The 20-year-old agreement now invoked by the president’s legal team is invalid and unenforceable for many reasons.

"The notion that seven members of the Trump family each mutually agreed to be gagged forever from speaking out about their ‘family relationships’ is absurd."

Simon & Schuster said it was “disappointed” by the order.

“We plan to immediately appeal this decision to the Appellate Division, and look forward to prevailing in this case based on well-established precedents regarding prior restraint,” it said.

The book, Too Much and Never Enough: How my Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, which is due to be published on July 28, will include purported psychological observations about the author’s “toxic” family, the lawsuit said.

It’s also expected to reveal her role as a primary source for the investigation by The New York Times into the president’s taxes, and to detail her claim that the family’s mistreatment of her father, Fred Trump Jr, contributed to his early death.

"President Trump and his siblings are seeking to suppress a book that will discuss matters of utmost public importance," Mr Boutrous said.

"They are pursuing this unlawful prior restraint because they do not want the American people to know the truth."

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.

Updated: July 1, 2020 05:16 AM

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