KENNETT SQUARE, Pennsylvania – Former President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit against his niece, Mary Trump, and The New York Times, alleging fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit claims that Mary Trump, who previously released a book about her family, engaged in a conspiracy with the newspaper to publish confidential tax records, which subsequently tarnished the image of the Trump family name. The legal action seeks damages in excess of $100 million.
In the lawsuit, Donald Trump alleges that Mary Trump violated a settlement agreement that was reached in 2001 in order to take advantage of her family’s financial success. The agreement, which settled a dispute over the estate of Fred Trump Sr., included a confidentiality clause prohibiting the publication of any confidential tax records. According to the lawsuit, Mary Trump’s actions were motivated by her desire to have a “salacious story” published by The New York Times.
The lawsuit also accuses The New York Times of receiving the tax records from Mary Trump and knowingly publishing them, despite being aware of the confidentiality agreement. Donald Trump claims that the publication of these records was part of a larger “Pulitzer Prize-winning hit piece” orchestrated by the newspaper to damage his reputation.
However, legal experts have expressed skepticism about the viability of Trump’s lawsuit. They argue that under the First Amendment, news organizations have significant protections when publishing information of public interest, such as tax records of public figures. In addition, defamation and emotional distress claims brought by public figures like Trump typically face a high bar for success.
Mary Trump’s lawyer, Theodore Boutrous Jr., described the lawsuit as “a transparent attempt to stifle legitimate criticism and punish his niece for having the audacity” to reveal the Trump family’s financial affairs. Boutrous added that the suit was a “baseless rehash of prior allegations” and that they would vigorously defend against it.
The New York Times has not yet publicly commented on the lawsuit.
In summary, Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit against his niece, Mary Trump, and The New York Times, claiming they conspired to publish confidential tax records and harm his reputation. Legal experts are skeptical of the lawsuit’s success due to First Amendment protections and the high threshold for defamation claims against public figures. Mary Trump’s lawyer has characterized the lawsuit as an attempt to silence criticism. The New York Times has not responded to the lawsuit publicly.