Trump's brother sues over niece's book about 'toxic' family

President Donald Trump's niece Mary Trump's book will include purported psychological observations about her "toxic" family. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - President Donald Trump's brother sued to block publication of a book by their niece Mary Trump, saying portions of the memoir violate confidentiality provisions of a settlement reached among family members almost two decades ago in a fight over money.

Robert S. Trump filed the complaint on Tuesday (June 23) in state court in Queens, New York, seeking an order permanently barring publication on the grounds that the book will include extensive private information.

The memoir purports to have an "insider's perspective" of "countless holiday meals" as well as family events and other potentially damaging information, according to a copy of the lawsuit.

The suit was filed three days after a federal judge rejected the Trump administration's request for a court order blocking publication of a damning memoir about the president by former national security adviser John Bolton. The judge in that case said Bolton had put the nation's security at risk by publishing classified information but that too many advance copies had been sent out to justify an emergency order blocking publication.

Mary Trump's 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, could also be damaging and will include purported psychological observations about her "toxic" family, according to the lawsuit.

It's also expected to reveal her role as a primary source for the New York Times's investigation 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.

"I am deeply disappointed in my niece Mary's decision to write a book concerning our family," Robert Trump said in a statement. "Her attempt to sensationalise and mischaracterise our family relationship after all of these years for her own financial gain is both a travesty and injustice to the memory of my late brother Fred and our beloved parents."

"I and the rest of my entire family are so proud of my wonderful brother, the president, and feel that Mary's actions are truly a disgrace," Robert Trump said.

Robert Trump claims that details in the book are barred from publication by the 2001 global settlement over family disputes stemming from the wills of the president's parents, Fred and Mary, who died in 1999 and 2000. His niece agreed as part of the deal not to "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" about their relationships, according to the complaint.

Mary Trump received "adequate consideration" for joining the settlement, the suit claims, though financial details weren't disclosed in the filing. Dozens of pages of heavily redacted court documents from the litigation resolved by the settlement were also included in the filing.

The book's publisher, Simon & Schuster, which provided a copy of the lawsuit, was also named in the complaint.

"As the plaintiff and his attorney well know, the courts take a dim view of prior restraint, and this attempt to block publication will meet the same fate as those that have gone before," the publisher said in a statement.

"Mary Trump has written a compelling personal story of worldwide significance, and we look forward to helping her tell her story."

Mary Trump's lawyer, Theodore Boutrous Jr, called the lawsuit a "brazen effort to squelch speech" in violation of the First Amendment.

"President Trump and his siblings are seeking to suppress a book that will discuss matters of utmost public importance," Boutrous said in a statement. "They are pursuing this unlawful prior restraint because they do not want the American people to know the truth."

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