In a July 2 filing, lawyers for Mary L. Trump insist there is no Constitutional or valid contractual basis for New York State Supreme Court judge Hal B. Greenwald to block publication of her forthcoming tell-all memoir Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. And, as co-defendant Simon & Schuster argued earlier this week, “with tens of thousands” of copies of the book already printed and sold to booksellers, neither is there any practical way to stop publication.
"Plaintiff seeks an injunction that would restrain Ms. Trump from sharing insights she alone can share on the current President during his re-election. There may be no more serious First Amendment injury in American law," concludes Mary L. Trump's legal team, led by Theodore Boutros, one of the nation's top litigators, adding that "there are no circumstances here that would warrant such historic interference."
Citing a litany of cases, the brief portrays the Trump family bid to stop publication of Mary L. Trump's memoir as an obvious “unlawful prior restraint" on core political speech, adding that “the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids prior restraints against the publication of books, especially books comprising core political speech relating to a sitting president running for reelection.”
The 58-page filing answers a June 26 suit filed by Robert S. Trump on behalf of the Trump family, including President Donald J. Trump, in New York State Supreme Court in Dutchess County. Among its remedies, the Trump family suit seeks to stop publication of the book, citing a sweeping confidentiality clause agreed to in 2001, when the estate of the president’s father, Fred Trump Sr., was settled.
On June 30, judge Greenwald issued an Order to Show Cause and a Temporary Restraining Order blocking the author and her publisher, Simon & Schuster, from publishing the book, pending a July 10 hearing. A day later, however, an appeals court vacated the Temporary Restraining Order against Simon & Schuster, holding that since the publisher is not a party to any confidentiality agreement with the Trump family they could not be enjoined without more fact-finding.
Further, lawyers for Mary L. Trump also argue that the confidentiality agreement at issue is "unenforceable and inapplicable."
In a potentially explosive revelation, the brief alleges that Mary L. Trump was “fraudulently induced” into signing the settlement agreement in 2001 “based on false valuations that were revealed by the New York Times in its exposé of the Trump family finances in October of 2018.”
In addition, the brief argues, the confidentiality provision, which was agreed to in the narrow context of an estate settlement, “is not nearly specific enough to constitute a valid waiver of First Amendment rights” and cannot be interpreted as "a perpetual ban" on Trump family members' ability to speak publicly about issues of public concern, "in particular where one of those family members has voluntarily made his life a public issue by running for and becoming president of the United States.”
And, in an argument that recalls federal judge Royce Lamberth’s June 10 decision declining to enjoin S&S’s publication of former national security advisor John Bolton’s memoir, lawyers for Mary L. Trump argue that “tens of thousands of copies of the Book have already been printed and shipped to retailers who will sell the book to the public,” regardless of any injunction the court might issue.
“Ms. Trump has delivered the manuscript of the book; under the agreement with Simon & Schuster, she no longer has the power to stop its publication,” the brief states. “Even if Plaintiff had adequately proven that release of Ms. Trump’s book will cause him irreparable injury—and he has not—his application for injunctive relief still would have to be denied because the injunction he seeks is no longer capable of stopping that release…. Injunctive relief thus would be ineffectual. That means not only that the injunction should not issue, but also that Plaintiff lacks standing to seek it.”
In his June 10 decision, Lamberth declined to issue an injunction to block publication of Bolton’s memoir because the book was already widely available. "For reasons that hardly need to be stated, the Court will not order a nationwide seizure and destruction of a political memoir," Lamberth wrote.
On the S&S website, Mary L. Trump's book is described as a “revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him," and claims to offer insight into how Trump "became the man who now threatens the world’s health, economic security, and social fabric.” The publisher's catalog copy describes Mary L. Trump as a trained clinical psychologist as well as the president’s only niece. The book is set for a July 28 release.
The hearing before New York State Supreme Court judge Hal B. Greenwald is set for July 10.