A New York appeals judge found that although Trump's niece Mary Trump is bound by a confidentiality agreement, Simon & Schuster is not.
A New York appeals judge will allow Simon & Schuster to publish a scrapbook written by President Donald Trump's niece, Mary L. Trump.
According to the New York Times, appellate judge Alan D. Scheinkman decided on Wednesday that Simon & Schuster should publish "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Made the Most Dangerous Man in the World" at the end of July.
In a hearing on Tuesday, the Times said, Simon & Schuster claimed that restricting the sale of the book would adversely affect the business. The publisher said tens of thousands of copies have already been printed – and that Mary Trump's all-rounder is already a bestseller on Amazon.
President Donald Trump's brother, Robert Trump, previously filed two lawsuits: one against Mary Trump and one against Simon & Schuster. Both tried to suppress the release of Too Much and Never Enough because Mary Trump was not authorized to speak about Trump's family affairs.
In both cases, Robert Trump claims his niece is prohibited from speaking about family matters because of a nondisclosure agreement. The same confidentiality agreement was signed by several members of the Trump family on disagreements over the settlement of Fred Trump's estate.
However, Judge Scheinkman did not address the main argument in the lawsuit whether Mary Trump could publish a scrapbook. Instead, Scheinkman concentrated on the publisher and found that Simon & Schuster was not a party to the confidentiality agreement and therefore cannot be bound by its terms.
Trump signs a document to renew sanctions against Iran. Picture of the White House / (Official photo of the White House by Shealah Craighead). Public domain.
"Unlike Ms. Trump, S&S did not agree to give up or give up one of its First Amendment rights," Scheinkman wrote.
Simon & Schuster, according to the New York Times, quickly interpreted the verdict as a sure win.
"We support Mary L. Trump's right to tell her story in Too Much and Never Enough, a work of great interest and importance to national discourse that deserves to be published for the benefit of the American public," said Simon & Schuster said in a statement. "As everyone knows, there are well-established precedents against reluctance and injunctions."
The Times notes that Scheinkman's decision overrides another decision made on Tuesday by Dutchess County Supreme Court judge Hal Greenwald.
In his decision, Greenwald ordered an injunction against the publication of the book and planned to hear it in mid-July. However, Simon & Schuster contacted Greenwald within hours of his decision, arguing that they only knew Mary L. Trump's confidentiality agreement when Robert Trump filed his lawsuit.
"We have heard nothing about Ms. Trump signing an agreement on her ability to discuss her litigation with her family until shortly after the press released Ms. Trump's book about two weeks ago, long after the book was adopted and in Production had stopped and printing had started, ”said Jonathon Karp, CEO of Simon & Schuster, in an affidavit. "And we never saw an alleged settlement until this lawsuit against Ms. Trump and Simon & Schuster was filed."
Scheinkman admitted that it is not surprising that the Trump family might try to impose confidentiality restrictions on their members given the importance of the Trumps.
Scheinkman also said, however, that the agreement signed almost two decades ago may not reflect the current circumstances that have been significantly changed by Donald Trump's election as US president.
"A legitimate interest in maintaining family secrets can be a thing for a real estate developer’s family, no matter how successful," said Scheinkman. "It's a different matter for the President of the United States family."
Theodore Boutrous Jr., a lawyer for Mary Trump, said he plans to appeal the decision of the lower court on Thursday. He hopes the court will find that Mary Trump, like Simon & Schuster, is not bound by the confidentiality agreement.
"It is very good news that the previous reluctance towards Simon & Schuster has been lifted," said Botrous. "We look forward to bringing our letter to court tomorrow and explaining why the same outcome as Ms. Trump needs to be based on the first change and the fundamental contract law."
The book is expected to reveal Mary Trump as the main source for a number of the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times articles on the Trump family's finances. Attempts are also made to portray Donald Trump's aggressive personality and blatant character as a result of dysfunctional family upbringing.
"This book, which deals with issues that are important for a seated president in an election year, shouldn't be suppressed for even a day," said Boutrous.
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