The Slatest

Judge Temporarily Halts Publication of Trump Niece’s Tell-All Book

President Donald Trump looks upward while standing at a podium in the Rose Garden.
Trump is yet again trying to sue an unflattering book out of existence. Saul Loeb/Getty Images

A New York judge halted the publication of a tell-all book by President Donald Trump’s niece Mary Trump, granting a temporary injunction Tuesday after a court filing claimed the book violates a decades-old nondisclosure agreement signed by Mary Trump as part of an inheritance settlement. Mary Trump’s hotly anticipated book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man is set to be published by Simon & Schuster on July 28. The publisher describes the book as a firsthand, lived account by the daughter of Trump’s older brother of the “toxic family,” including the “nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse” that made Trump the man he is today. Mary Trump went on to get a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and turns her expert eye inward on her family history.

The order from Judge Hal B. Greenwald essentially pauses the dissemination of the book until a hearing on the matter scheduled for July 10. The book is already in the ether however, and numerous news outlets have reported on portions of Mary Trump’s account as part of the standard public relations buildup of such a newsy, high-profile book launch. Simon & Schuster said in a court filing that it was unaware of Mary Trump’s NDA that was part of an inheritance settlement upon the death of her grandfather, President Trump’s father, Fred Trump. Mary Trump’s own father, Fred Trump Jr., died in 1981 of an alcohol-related disease. A lawyer for Mary Trump and Simon & Schuster said that any intervention by the courts would amount to prior restraint of Mary Trump’s First Amendment right to free speech.

Last month, the Daily Beast reported that Mary Trump was the primary source for a Pulitzer Prize–winning 2018 New York Times investigation into the Trump family finances. Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp said in the court filing “knowing that no litigation resulted from the Times article, we were entirely confident in Ms. Trump’s ability to tell her story regarding her own family.” Simon & Schuster said it had already printed 75,000 copies of the book and many are already with retailers ahead of the book’s publication date.

The legal action taken against the publication of presumably damning details of Trump’s life is one of many legal haymakers thrown by the Trump legal team, and comes on the heels of the president’s legal efforts to suppress former national security aide John Bolton’s own tell-all book about his time in the White House. Often the legal squabbles have the opposite of the intended effect and gin up interest rather than tamp down disclosures. Mary Trump’s book, for example, is already No. 1 in Amazon book sales based on preorders even before its official release.