President Donald Trump’s niece told a state court Thursday that she never believed a settlement agreement she’d signed over her grandfather’s will would preclude her from writing about Trump.
What’s more, Mary Trump argued in an affidavit, a restraining order on her should be lifted because the settlement agreement was based on “fraudulent” assessments of the Trump family’s wealth.
The affidavit from Trump came a day after a state appeals court allowed her publisher to distribute the upcoming book about her uncle, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”
After that court lifted the restraining order against Simon & Schuster on Wednesday, Mary Trump’s lawyer Ted Boutrous said he would seek the same outcome for Ms. Trump herself — “based on the First Amendment and basic contract law.”
Mary Trump signed the settlement agreement in 2001 to resolve a dispute over the will of her grandfather (the President’s father, Fred C. Trump Sr.). But, she told a lower court on Thursday, “I never believed that the Settlement Agreement resolving discrete financial disputes could possibly restrict me from telling the story of my life.”
After all, she wrote, none of other parties in the settlement — including the President himself — have ever sought her permission to speak publicly about the Trump family, or their personal relationships with her.
Also, Mary Trump said, the asset valuations provided to her in connection with the settlement agreement have been revealed to be “fraudulent.” She pointed to the New York Times’ award-winning investigation on Donald Trump’s use of tax dodges to build his wealth. (Mary Trump herself was “critical” in helping the Times put the investigation together, the Daily Beast reported last month.)
“Indeed, the Settlement Agreement is unenforceable and void because Plaintiff and his siblings (including Donald Trump, the president of the United States) fraudulently induced Ms. Trump to enter into it based on false valuations that were revealed by the New York Times,” Boutrous said in a separate legal memo Thursday.
As of Wednesday, Simon & Schuster is free to publish Mary Trump’s book as planned. A state appeals court judge ruled that the publisher was not a party to the settlement agreement, and therefore could not be controlled by the restraining order a lower court had placed on her.
Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp has said thousands of copies of the book have already been shipped.