Former President Donald Trump scored a legal win in another unrelated case on the same day he was charged by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The lawsuit by the former president against his niece Mary Trump, who is a fiery critic of him, could advance, a New York Supreme Court judge ruled on Friday.
Mary Trump filed a motion to dismiss all Trump’s claims, but Judge Robert Reed refused to dismiss the part about breaching of contract.
“ORDERED that defendant Mary Trump’s motion to dismiss the complaint is denied to the extent that it seeks to dismiss the first cause of action (breach of contract),” Reed wrote in the ruling. (pdf)
Mary Trump was sued in 2021 for providing Trump’s taxes information to The New York Times who later published an over 13,000-word article claiming that Trump potentially engaged in tax schemes.
The New York Times was also one of the defendants, but Reed dismissed the complaint against The New York Times in May, citing the First Amendment.
Reed said the NY Times’s reporting was at “the very core of protected First Amendment activity,” and that courts have “long recognized that reporters are entitled to engage in legal and ordinary news gathering activities without fear of tort liability.”
In a statement to multiple outlets, the NY Times said it was “pleased” with Reed’s decision.
“It is an important precedent reaffirming that the press is protected when it engages in routine newsgathering to obtain information of vital importance to the public,” the outlet added.
The Epoch Times reached out to Mary Trump’s attorney, Theodore Boutrous Jr., for comment.
The tax information under dispute in the lawsuit is protected by a Trump family settlement in April 2001 and could not be released without the consent of Trump.
“[All parties] shall not disclose any of the terms of [the Settlement Agreement], and in addition shall not directly or indirectly publish or cause to be published, any diary, memoir, letter, story, photograph, interview, article, essay, account, or description or depiction of any kind whatsoever, whether fictionalized or not, … or assist or provide information to others in connection therewith,” reads the settlement agreement.
The lawsuit also reveals how the three New York Times reporters, Susanna Craig, David Barstow, and Russell Buettner, successfully convinced Mary Trump to cooperate with them and provided the critical information for the article titled “Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches from His Father.”
Craig approached Mary Trump at her home in 2017 but was rejected by the latter. Craig continued reaching out to Mary Trump and said she could “rewrite the history of the President of the United States.” Craig later changed her mind and called Craig.
The New York Times article was published on Oct. 2, 2018.
Mary Trump herself wrote a book two years after the event titled “How Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”
The book was released on July 14, 2020.
Trump said he’s hurt by Mary Trump’s book and the content and allegations about his parents are more hurtful than the material about the president himself.
After the release of the book, Trump was asked by Fox News’s Chris Wallace if it “hurt … at all” to be “attacked in such personal terms” by a member of his own family. The president said that “It hurts me more about attacking my father, not being kind to my mother. I have a mother who was like a saint.”
“She was an incredible woman. And she was nasty even to my mother. She’s a very scarred person. She was not much of a family person,” Trump said.
“Let me just tell you, my father was—I think he was the most solid person I’ve ever met. And he was a very good person. He was a very, very good person. He was strong but he was good. For her to say the kind of things, a psychopath, that he was a psychopath, anybody that knew Fred Trump would call him a psychopath?” the president said. “For her to say, I think the word she used was psychopath, what a disgrace. She ought to be ashamed of herself. That book is a lie.”
Trump then went on to defend his father, Fred Trump, as “tough on me, he was tough on all of the kids.”
“But tough in a solid sense, in a really good sense,” he said.
Mimi Nguyen Ly and Jack Phillips contributed to this report.