Mary Trump surfaces in written testimony as fight over publication of her book rages on
Posted July 3, 2020 11:42 a.m. EDT
CNN — Mary Trump's attorneys are pressing a judge to fully clear her path to publish a bombshell book about dealings with her family, including her uncle President Donald Trump, claiming the confidential settlement she signed decades ago was based on fraudulent financial information.
In court filings Thursday night, Mary Trump and her attorneys said blocking the book would be unconstitutional. But they are also arguing that The New York Times' investigation into the Trump family's taxes makes clear that the settlement agreement -- and accompanying non-disclosure agreement -- Mary Trump signed some two decades ago was fraudulent and should be considered moot.
"The New York Times's detailed analysis and investigation revealed for the first time that the valuations on which I had relied in entering into the Settlement Agreement, and which were used to determine my compensation under the Agreement, were fraudulent," Mary Trump said in an affidavit. "I relied on the false valuations provided to me by my uncles and aunt, and would never have entered into the Agreement had I known the true value of the assets involved."
Robert Trump -- Donald Trump's younger brother -- has led the effort to block their niece's book, filing a temporary restraining order and claiming such a book would violate the terms of the confidential settlement agreement the family reached in bitter litigation after the death of the family patriarch Fred Trump.
In a blow to Robert Trump's efforts, a court decided earlier this week to lift the temporary restraining order against the book's publisher, Simon & Schuster. But a temporary restraining order remains in place against Mary Trump pending a July 10 hearing. The book is set to be released on July 28.
In an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo Thursday night, Mary Trump's attorney Ted Boutrous said there's no reason the court should continue to uphold the confidentiality agreement.
"The settlement agreement that includes the nondisclosure agreement was the product of fraud, therefore it's void, it can't be enforced," Boutrous said. "It's one of the many reasons it's just not worth the paper it's printed on at this point."
The latest court filings -- which acknowledge Mary Trump was a source for the Times' taxes investigation -- reveal only teasers about what sorts of revelations could be tucked in her forthcoming tell-all.
Mary Trump's attorneys said the book is her "own story about life as a member of the Trump family -- a story that includes information about financial and familial misdeeds by the President of the United States and his siblings," according to the filing Thursday. "This Book addresses issues of profound importance to our country, with critical insights concerning the President of the United States, his formative years, and his family's financial dealings. Ms. Trump offers a personal perspective on President Trump -- valuable eyewitness source material for historians and citizens."
In her affidavit, Mary Trump claimed that she never envisioned the settlement agreement could one day prohibit her from telling her life story.
"I never believed that the Settlement Agreement resolving discrete financial disputes could possibly restrict me from telling the story of my life or publishing a book discussing anything contained in the Book, including the conduct and character of my uncle, the sitting President of the United States, during his campaign for re-election, my aunt Maryanne, a former federal judge, or my uncle Robert, a prominent public figure," Mary Trump stated. "Moreover, my uncle, the President, has spoken out about our family and the will dispute on numerous occasions."
Charles Harder, attorney for Robert Trump, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday's filing.
Mary Trump's attorneys claim that if the effort is to block potential harm to the family's reputation, it is already too late.
Robert Trump "is concerned that Ms. Trump will reveal details about her dealings with The New York Times, her difficult relationship with her family, and the Trump family's financial dealings. But all of those facts have been made public," Mary Trump's attorneys said in a filing, citing the Times tax investigation and other news coverage of the family. "Contemporaneous news reports surrounding Ms. Trump's suit twenty years ago laid bare the rancorous relationship between the Trump family and Ms. Trump."