By LARRY NEUMEISTER
FILE- In this Thursday, June 25, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn after arriving on Marine One at the White House in Washington. The president’s brother Robert Trump has filed a second court action seeking to halt publication of a tell-all book by the president’s niece, after his first bid was rejected by a New York City judge.
Distribution of a tell-all book by President Donald Trump’s niece was blocked by a judge Tuesday after the president’s brother said its publication would violate a pact among family members, but a publisher’s chief executive says the book has already been shipped and could not be stopped.
New York state Supreme Court Judge Hal B. Greenwald in Poughkeepsie, New York, issued an order requiring the niece, Mary Trump, and her publisher to explain why they should not be blocked from publishing the book: “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” A hearing was set for July 10.
The book, scheduled to be published July 28, was written by Mary Trump, the daughter of Fred Trump Jr., the president’s elder brother, who died in 1981. An online description of it says it reveals “a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse.”
The judge said no portion of the book can be distributed before he decides the validity of Robert Trump’s claims. Robert Trump argues Mary Trump must comply with a written agreement among family members that such a book cannot be published without permission from other family members.
Mary Trump’s lawyer, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., and her publisher, Simon & Schuster, immediately challenged the order. Hours later, Simon & Schuster Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Karp said in court papers that the publisher was unaware of allegations of any agreement between Mary Trump and her family until two weeks ago.
“To take the unprecedented action of enjoining the publication of this Book, even temporarily, would interfere with Simon & Schuster’s constitutionally protected rights and its mission to inform the American public about newsworthy topics," he said. “It would also interfere with Simon & Schuster’s readers’ constitutionally protected rights to receive newsworthy reporting."
Karp said Mary Trump offered “a personal and never-before-seen perspective on President Trump" in the book, which had become No. 1 on the Amazon Best Seller List.
In court papers filed Tuesday night, the publisher’s lawyers said thousands of the 75,000 copies of the book that have been printed have already been shipped to sellers.
They noted that the shipping schedule was set far in advance of the court action and was not expedited because of it and that Simon & Schuster had provided multiple booksellers with key information about the book and some of them have published it.
“The trial court’s temporary restraining order is only temporary but it still is a prior restraint on core political speech that flatly violates the First Amendment," Boutrous said.
“This book, which addresses matters of great public concern and importance about a sitting president in election year, should not be suppressed even for one day,” Boutrous said in a statement.
Adam Rothberg, a Simon & Schuster spokesperson, said the publisher was disappointed but looks forward “to prevailing in this case based on well-established precedents regarding prior restraint."
Charles Harder, an attorney for Robert Trump, said his client was “very pleased."
He said in a statement that the actions by Mary Trump and her publisher were “truly reprehensible."
“We look forward to vigorously litigating this case, and will seek the maximum remedies available by law for the enormous damages," he said. “Short of corrective action to immediately cease their egregious conduct, we will pursue this case to the very end."
In court papers, Robert Trump maintained Mary Trump was part of a settlement nearly two decades ago that included a confidentiality clause explicitly saying they would not “publish any account concerning the litigation or their relationship,” unless they all agreed, the court papers said.
Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo contributed to this report from Washington.
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