The lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court in Dutchess County alleges that Times journalists "relentlessly sought out his niece, Mary L. Trump" to convince her to retrieve the former president's tax records out of her attorney's office.
Three Times reporters are named in the lawsuit: Susanne Craig, David Barstow and Russell Buettner. In 2019, they won a Pulitzer Prize for their 18-month investigation into Trump's finances that judges said "debunked his claims of self-made wealth and revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges."
Trump claims in the lawsuit that his niece revealed herself as the source of the documents that were key to the Times' reporting in her 2020 book "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man."
Those documents were held at the office of Mary Trump's attorney after settling the estate of Trump's father, Fred C. Trump, who died in 1999. The lawsuit claims Mary Trump breached a confidentiality agreement by providing the documents to reporters...
Mary L. Trump
Mary Lea Trump is an American psychologist and author. A niece of former president Donald Trump, she has been critical of him as well as the rest of the Trump family. Her 2020 book about him and the family, Too Much and Never Enough, sold nearly one million copies on the day of its release. Early life and education
Mary Lea Trump was born in May 1965 to flight attendant Linda Lee Clapp and Fred Trump Jr., a commercial jet pilot with Trans World Airlines. Her older brother is Frederick Trump III. Mary Lea Trump graduated from the Ethel Walker School in 1983. She studied English literature at Tufts University, earned a master's degree in English literature at Columbia University, for which she studied the works of William Faulkner and his dysfunctional fictional Compson family, and holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University.
Trump worked for one year at the Manhattan Psychiatric Center while working on her PhD research. Trump is a contributor to the book Diagnosis: Schizophrenia, published by Columbia University Press in 2002. She has taught graduate courses in developmental psychology, trauma, and psychopathology. She is the founder and chief executive officer of The Trump Coaching Group, a life-coaching company, and has also owned and operated a number of small businesses in the Northeast.
Too Much and Never Enough
How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man is a tell-all book written by Trump and published on July 14, 2020, by Simon & Schuster. According to Trump's note at the beginning of the book, all accounts in the book come either from her own memory or from recorded conversations with family, friends, and others. Other sources are legal, financial and family documents, email correspondence, and the New York Times investigative article by David Barstow, Susanne Craig, and Russ Buettner. The book details how Mary Trump was the anonymous source who revealed Trump family tax returns to The New York Times; the reporting won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize. A legal battle over whether the book could be published was waged in New York's judicial system, with an appellate judge allowing Simon & Schuster to publish the book. The book sold close to one million copies on its first day of sales.
Trump's second book, The Reckoning: Our Nation's Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal, was published by St. Martin's Press on August 17, 2021.
Trump's father, Fred Trump Jr., died on September 29, 1981, at the age of 42 from a heart attack caused by alcoholism; she was aged 16. Trump was at school, watching a film in the auditorium with other children when a teacher pulled her aside and made her call home. She found out after a series of phone calls that her father had died. Mary was not able to see her father's body despite her request to do so and had to be content with saying her goodbye to a closed coffin at the funeral.
Trump is a lesbian. In Too Much and Never Enough, she states that her entire family's homophobia and bigotry caused her to stay in the closet for many years out of fear of being disowned and disinherited. Trump relates a time when her grandmother, Mary Anne MacLeod Trump, frequently referred to Elton John as a 'faggot', and Trump decided not to come out and tell her, nor the entire immediate Trump family, that she was in love with and was going to marry a woman, with whom she would later raise a daughter. She has since divorced, and lives on Long Island, New York, with her daughter Avary, who was conceived by in-vitro fertilization with a sperm donor.
Trump supported Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. On July 15, 2020, she said in an ABC News interview conducted by George Stephanopoulos that Donald Trump should resign as president. Mary said that he was 'utterly incapable of leading this country, and it's dangerous to allow him to do so'. In a July 22, 2020, interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Trump stated that Donald Trump exhibited sociopathic tendencies but not at a high-functioning level like his father, Fred Trump. She said the president was institutionally insulated from responsibilities throughout his childhood and was never held accountable for his actions.
After the 2021 storming of the Capitol, Trump said her uncle should be 'barred from ever running for public office again.'
Conflicts within the Trump family
When Fred Trump Sr. died in 1999, Mary Trump and her brother, Fred Trump III, contested their grandfather's will. Fred Sr.'s will left the bulk of his estate, in equal shares, to his children. His grandchildren were each left $200,000. When Mary's father predeceased him, Fred Sr.'s lawyers had recommended amending his will, to leave Fred Trump Jr.'s children larger shares than the grandchildren with living parents, writing that 'Given the size of your estate, this is tantamount to disinheriting them. You may wish to increase their participation in your estate to avoid ill will in the future.' Fred Sr. refused to do so.
Shortly after Fred Sr.'s death, Fred III's wife gave birth to a son named William, who has infantile spasms, a rare and debilitating medical condition requiring a lifetime of care. Fred Sr. had established a foundation that paid the medical expenses of his family. Mary Trump and her brother filed suit against Donald Trump and two of his three living siblings, Maryanne Trump Barry and Robert Trump, for exerting undue influence on the elderly Fred Sr.'s will. In response, Donald, Maryanne and Robert cut off Mary and Fred III's medical insurance, including coverage for William. The lawsuit was settled in 2001, with Mary and Fred III selling their interests in the family business, which included ground leases for two of Fred Sr.'s major properties. Mary Trump's lawyer argued that these assets were 'significantly and deliberately undervalued' by the other Trumps.
The 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting was awarded to David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner of The New York Times for 'an exhaustive 18-month investigation of Donald Trump's finances that debunked his statements of self-made wealth and revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges.' Trump states in her book that she was a key source of information for that study, having come into possession of Donald's tax documents during the discovery process in the dispute over her grandfather's estate.
Upon the announcement of Trump's book Too Much and Never Enough in June 2020, her uncle Robert Trump attempted to block its release, stating that she signed a non-disclosure agreement as part of the 2001 lawsuit settlement. The filing of a temporary restraining order against Trump was dismissed by a New York court for a lack of jurisdiction, and the book was published on July 14, 2020.
In September 2020, Trump sued her uncle Donald, aunt Maryanne, and the estate of her late uncle Robert, claiming that they defrauded her of tens of millions of dollars from her interests in Fred Sr.'s real-estate portfolio. The defendants' lawyers asked for dismissal of the lawsuit, claiming that she had waited too long to file suit. Trump's lawyers responded that 'easonable diligence would not have uncovered the fraud' more than a decade earlier.
In September 2021, the former President sued his niece over an 2018 article alleging he had 'participated in dubious tax schemes … including instances of outright fraud'. The suit accuses Mary Trump and three New York Times journalists of being 'engaged in an insidious plot' to gain confidential documents in a 'personal vendetta' against him.