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Mary Trump's Book Is Back on, as Court Lifts Restraining Order

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Mary Trump's Book Is Back on, as Court Lifts Restraining Order

2020-07-02 22:37:41

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Cover of Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man (Image source: Amazon)

Fear not: your summer reading list may still be safe. After you get done reading John Bolton's tell-all about the Trump administration, you may yet get to read Donald Trump's niece's book about her family and the inheritance she feels was wrongfully taken from her and her brother.

A New York appellate court lifted a temporary restraining order against Mary Trump's book from being published, giving the go-ahead to publisher Simon & Schuster to continue printing and distributing the copies.

Donald Trump's brother Robert filed a petition last week asking that Mary Trump's book not be allowed to be published. He feels a confidentiality agreement she and her brother, Fred Trump III, signed to settle the inheritance dispute doesn't allow her to write a book about the family.

A state Supreme Court judge on Tuesday agreed to grant a temporary restraining order to allow both sides to present their arguments next week. However, on Wednesday, the Supreme Court's appellate division lifted that order that had been imposed on Simon & Schuster, yet left the one in place regarding Mary Trump.

That process stops Mary from discussing the book, but it doesn't stop Simon & Schuster from printing and distributing copies of the book ahead of the July 28 publication, even while the case itself is still being argued in court.

In his decision, Judge Alan D. Scheinkman, wrote that "whatever legitimate public interest there may have been in the family disputes of a real estate developer and his relatives may be considerably heightened by that real estate developer now being President of the United States and a current candidate for reelection.

"Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man," has been on the top of the bestseller lists, thanks to advance orders and publicity partly provided by former national security adviser John Bolton's book being fought in the courts, only to be published last week.

The publisher describes the book by saying it will draw on Mary Trump's education as a clinical psychologist and studies of family dysfunction. With that background, she describes "a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse." This includes "the strange and harmful relationship between" her late father and Donald Trump.

Part of the book will delve into Fred Jr.'s alcohol-related death in 1981 when Mary Trump was just 16 years old. Donald Trump has mentioned before how the death of his brother shaped him.

When Fred Sr. died in 1999, Mary Trump and Fred III fought the family over the inheritance. They were being given less than what they expected. It was settled in 2001 with Mary and Fred III signing a confidentiality agreement. Robert Trump said Mary Trump agreed in the confidentiality agreement not to publish anything about the family.

Theodore Boutrous Jr., Mary Trump's attorney, said he planned to file a detailed brief on Thursday of why he believes the restraining order should be lifted for her as well.

"It is very good news that the prior restraining order against Simon & Schuster has been vacated, and we look forward to filling our brief [Thursday] in the trial court explaining why the same result is required as to Ms. Trump, based on the First Amendment and basic contract law," said the attorney in a statement.

Despite the temporary restraining order, Robert Trump's effort to get a temporary injunction against the book being published is expected to continue.

In a statement, Simon & Schuster said it was gratified with the judge's decision to pull the temporary restraining order. It's confident that the effort to impose a preliminary injunction will be imposed as well, because of "well-established precedents against prior restraint and pre-publication injunctions."

In his ruling, Scheinkman said the confidential agreement barred both sides from disclosing the terms of the settlement or "publishing any description of the litigation or their relationships" without the consent of all. While Mary Trump agreed she or her agent could be subject to penalty if the agreement were violated, the judge did not find Simon & Schuster were qualified to be her agent, as it was not a party to the original agreement. 

Simon & Schuster had said earlier in the week that it had not been aware of the terms of the inheritance settlement but that it still had the right to publish the tell-all without prior restraint.

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