Mary Trump’s lawyers file a brief arguing against the preliminary injunction on publishing her tell-all account of the Trump family, and release Ms. Trump’s affidavit. Ava DeSantis writes what the case for Mary Trump will be.
On Wednesday, a New York Appeals Court judge removed the ban on Simon & Schuster publishing Mary Trump’s book, Too Much and Never Enough. Yesterday, Mary Trump’s lawyers filed a brief arguing against the preliminary injunction sought by Donald Trump’s legal team. A preliminary injunction is an order usually given before the conclusion of a trial, to preserve the status quo. In this case, the status quo for Donald Trump’s team would be Mary Trump’s book unseen by the public.
A spokesman for Simon & Schuster told the press on Wednesday “we remain confident that the preliminary injunction will be denied.” Now, Ted Boutros, a member of Mary Trump’s legal team, revealed on Twitter how they plan to argue against the preliminary injunction.
Preliminary injunctions have a higher burden of proof for those requesting them, Trump’s legal team writes. In N.Y. Times Co. v. UnitedStates, a 1971 Supreme Court decision on freedom of speech, the majority wrote: “[a prior restraint on speech] may be imposed only in the most exceptional cases.” The burden is highest concerning political speech, as the court wrote in Citizens United v. Fed Election Comm’n, “the First Amendment has its fullest and most urgent application to speech uttered during a campaign for political office.” Mary Trump’s attorneys argued that, because Donald Trump runs for reelection this year, her book falls into this category of highly protected political speech. In Ms. Trump’s words, her family story now has “deep national relevance.”
A reversal of the protection of political speech can only happen when the plaintiff demonstrates “imminent and irreversible injury to the public,” according to Citizens United.
The brief acknowledges that within the financial settlement between the Trump family, and Mary Trump there is a “confidentiality provision.” However, they argue, the provision is “unenforceable,” “inapplicable,” and “void” because Robert Trump and his siblings “fraudulently induced Ms. Trump to enter into it based on false valuations.”
In a 2018 New York Times article, the paper alleges “[Donald Trump] and his sibling set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns.”
The false valuations Mary Trump’s attorneys cite are clear in this Pulitzer prize-winning article. The confidentiality provision, Ms. Trump’s attorneys allege, “was intended to protect the details” of the fraudulent financial settlement. In Ms. Trump’s own words, in her affidavit, when she signed the agreement, she “relied on the asset valuations provided to me in connection with the Settlement Agreement when I assented to it, and would not have assented to it had I believed those valuations were inaccurate.”
In her affidavit, Ms. Trump also claims that so-called confidentiality went unobserved by other members of her family. She writes “none of the parties to the Settlement Agreement, including my uncles Donald Trump and Robert Trump, or my aunt Maryanne Trump, has ever sought my permission to speak publicly about our family.” This, they allege, is further proof that confidentiality agreement intended to protect financial information-not any statement on the Trump family.
Regardless of the validity of the Trump family Settlement Agreement, Ms. Trump and her attorneys will hold that the plaintiff does not have proof of irreparable harm if the book releases to the public. That is the standard the plaintiff must meet for the court to grant a preliminary injunction.