Court Battles

Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump’s lawsuit over NYT tax story

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Mary Trump, the niece of former President Trump, has filed to dismiss a lawsuit her uncle brought against her and The New York Times in September over a 2018 story about his tax records.

An attorney for Mary Trump filed a motion to dismiss on Thursday, writing that the lawsuit filed against her, the Times and three reporters at the newspaper was “baseless” and “more of the same.”

Trump sued his niece, the Times and reporters David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner over an extensive story the Times published in 2018 that examined the president’s tax records, which he had tried to shield from the pubic for years.

The reporting on Trump’s taxes went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2019, giving Americans an eye into the finances of the president and business mogul.

The documents revealed, among other facts, that Trump earned the equivalent of at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire, a large chunk of which was made by dodging taxes in the 1990s.

Mary Trump later revealed in a tell-all book that she was the source for the Times story. She said she provided the newspaper with Fred Trump Sr.’s tax returns in addition to other confidential financial information regarding the family.

Trump, in his September lawsuit, said the defendants “engaged in an insidious plot” to access the sensitive records and were “motivated by a personal vendetta.”

He also said his niece took part in “an ill-conceived effort to profit from these same events” by publishing her memoir “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”

Mary Trump and her attorney are now rejecting those claims, writing in the motion to dismiss that Donald Trump’s lawsuit is an attempt to punish the defendants for revealing sensitive information about his fitness for office and personal and financial history.

They are requesting that the lawsuit be dismissed with prejudice, which would permanently end the legal action, and are seeking attorneys’ fees and damages that were sustained as a result of the suit. 

The motion to dismiss says the lawsuit is “nothing more than a transparent effort to punish his niece and these journalists for disseminating truthful information of great public interest.”

Mary Trump’s attorney Theodore J. Boutrous noted Donald Trump must prove that his lawsuit has a substantial basis in order for it to survive dismissal, adding the former president “cannot meet that stringent standard for myriad reasons.”

“Mr. Trump wields the confidentiality provision as if it were virtually unlimited in scope and time, precluding speech on issues that became of central public concern once he first ran for President of the United States,” he added.

Specifically, Boutrous claimed that a confidentiality agreement Donald Trump said Mary Trump had signed  “was terminable at will and thus cannot form the basis of a breach of contract claim.” He also said that agreement “is not a sweeping gag order,” but instead relates to the specific terms of the agreement.

“Mr. Trump has a long history of filing lawsuits simply to chill freedom of speech and of the press, and this is more of the same. The First Amendment and New York law forbid such abusive lawsuits,” Boutrous added in a statement.

The Hill reached out to Trump for comment.

Updated at 1:40 p.m. on Friday.

Tags Donald Trump Mary Trump

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