A Queens County, New York, Surrogate’s Court judge Thursday rejected a request to bar President Donald Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, from publishing a tell-all book about the family because the court lacked jurisdiction in the case.
Judge Peter Kelly recommended that Robert Trump, the president’s brother, take to another court his claim that publishing the book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” would violate a nondisclosure agreement signed by Mary Trump.
“Insofar as the petition seeks a declaratory judgment, this forum is presumptively improper,” Kelly wrote.
Charles Harder, a lawyer for Robert Trump, said he would now file suit in the New York state Supreme Court, which is a lower-level court in the state, in an effort to stop Simon & Schuster from publishing the book July 28.
Simon & Schuster describes the book on its website as a “revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him,” written by Mary Trump, “a trained clinical psychologist and Donald’s only niece.”
Mary Trump’s lawyer, Theodore Boutrous, said the court had “promptly and correctly held that it lacks jurisdiction to grant the Trump family’s baseless request.”
“Democracy thrives on the free exchange of ideas,” he added, “and neither this court nor any other has authority to violate the Constitution by imposing a prior restraint on core political speech.”
Harder said the request to block publication of the book was filed in the Queens court because of a settlement in 2001 between Mary Trump, whose father, Fred Trump Jr., had died years before, and his siblings: Robert Trump, Donald Trump and their sister, Maryanne Trump Barry.
The settlement was the result of a suit filed by Mary Trump and her brother, Fred Trump III, contesting the estate of Fred Trump Sr., their grandfather and the president’s father, which had essentially cut them out of his will. In response to the suit, the president and his siblings stopped providing financial help to Fred Trump III’s son, William Trump, who was born with an acute medical condition.
Harder said all parties involved in the settlement had at the time “agreed to jurisdiction of future disputes” in the Surrogate’s Court, which was why Robert Trump had filed suit there.
“Today, the Surrogate’s Court ruled that it does not have jurisdiction over the dispute,” Harder said in a statement. “Therefore, Robert Trump will proceed with filing a new lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court.”
In a statement released by the Trump family, Fred Trump III distanced himself from his sister’s book, described the settlement he and she had made with their uncles and aunt in 2001 as “generous” and said he considered the confidentiality provisions “in effect and binding.”
“I have learned only recently that my younger sister, Mary, is writing a tell-all book which is advertised to be highly critical of the Trump family and especially of our uncle, Donald J. Trump,” he said.
“My wife, children and I have a strong relationship with our extended family and have had no involvement or interest in the preparation of this book,” he said, adding that William Trump had “been very well provided for financially” through a medical fund the family created.