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Mary Trump sues President Trump, family members over fraud allegations
Mary Trump is suing her uncle, President Trump, his sister and late brother over allegations they committed fraud in order to deprive her of her interests in the Trump family business and enrich themselves.
The lawsuit was filed by attorneys for Mary Trump on Thursday in New York state court against Donald Trump, Maryanne Trump Barry and Robert Trump, who passed away in August.
The suit alleges that the siblings took control of the real estate empire created by their father, Fred Trump Sr., in the 1980s "and exploited it to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone around them."
"For Donald J. Trump, his sister Maryanne, and their late brother Robert, fraud was not just the family business - it was a way of life," the suit alleges. "They concocted scheme after scheme to cheat on their taxes, swindle their business partners, and jack up rents on their low-income tenants."
The lawsuit, filed against President Trump in his personal capacity, alleges that the three siblings conspired to siphon funds from Mary Trump's interests, forced her to sign a settlement agreement and ultimately deprived her of "tens of millions of dollars or more."
Mary Trump was a teenager when her father, Fred Trump Jr., died in 1981, leaving her with minority interests in the family business. The suit alleges that the Trump siblings conspired with Irwin Durben, a trustee appointed to act on Mary Trump's behalf, in order to squeeze her out of the family business without her knowledge.
The suit says that, with assistance from Durben, the defendants drafted and succeeded in getting Fred Trump Sr. to sign a codicil to his will that designated them as the executors of his estate in 1991.
The lawsuit accuses the defendants of engaging in three specific fraud schemes against Mary Trump: siphoning the value from her interests to entities under their control that they disguised as legitimate business transactions; depressing the value of her interests through fraudulent appraisals and financial statements; and forcing her to sign "a stack of fraudulent valuations and financial statements" and a settlement agreement following the death of Fred Trump Sr. by threatening to terminate the health insurance of her nephew, who has cerebral palsy.
Mary Trump alleges the defendants committed eight crimes: fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation, two counts of civil conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty and aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty.
An attorney for the Trump family did not immediately return a request for comment on Thursday.
The suit says that Mary Trump only became privy to the alleged scheme when The New York Times published an investigative article about President Trump's finances in October, 2018.
"My father died when I was still a teenager, and my uncles Donald and Robert and aunt Maryanne were supposed to be protecting me as my trustees and fiduciaries. Recently, I learned that rather than protecting me, they instead betrayed me by working together in secret to steal from me, by telling lie after lie about the value of what I had inherited, and by conning me into giving everything away for a fraction of its true value," Mary Trump said in a statement. "I am bringing this case to hold them accountable and to recover what is rightfully mine."
Mary Trump has previously accused her family members of cheating her out of her inheritance in a tell-all book she published over the summer entitled, "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man." The book was extremely critical of President Trump and leveled a series of damaging allegations against the Trump family. President Trump and the White House have dismissed the claims in the book as lies.
Robert Trump filed a lawsuit ahead of the book's release that alleged Mary Trump was violating a nondisclosure agreement signed during the settlement of Fred Trump Sr.'s estate and attempted to prevent its publication. The suit was unsuccessful.
The president pushed back on his niece and called her "unstable" last month after she wrote the book and released recordings of the president's sister talking about him.
Asked for a response to the lawsuit on Thursday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that Mary Trump has already "discredited herself" by secretly recording one of her family members.
"The only fraud committed there was Mary Trump recording one of her relatives. She has really discredited herself," McEnany told reporters at an afternoon briefing.
- Updated at 12:49 p.m.