Ungagged and Unbound, Mary Trump Wins Court Fight Over Tell-All on President

Portrait of Mary Trump, niece of the president and author of “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” (Portrait by Peter Serling for Simon & Schuster via Courthouse News)

(CN) — Already the subject of countless news reports and book reviews, Mary Trump’s memoir “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” has been blessed for publication on the eve of its release.

“The court got it right in rejecting the Trump family’s effort to squelch Mary Trump’s core political speech on important issues of public concern,” Mary Trump’s attorney Ted Boutrous of the firm Gibson Dunn said in a statement. “The First Amendment forbids prior restraints because they are intolerable infringements on the right to participate in democracy. Tomorrow, the American public will be able to read Mary’s important words for themselves.”

Publisher Simon & Schuster described itself as “delighted” with the outcome.

“The unfettered right to publish is a sacred American freedom and a founding principle of our republic, and we applaud the court for affirming well-established precedents against prior restraint and pre-publication injunctions,” the publisher wrote. “‘Too Much and Never Enough’ is a work of great significance, with very real implications for our national discourse, and we look forward to bringing it to a public that is clearly eager to read it.”

Unfettered by the now-lifted temporary restraining order, Mary Trump will be free to promote and speak to the press about her book. Her spokesman Chris Bastardi gave a wry preview of those looking forward to hearing the president’s niece unbound.

“Now that the unconstitutional gag order has finally been lifted, we are sure the White House and America are looking forward to finally hearing what Mary has to say,” Bastardi said in a statement.

Weeks ago, Simon & Schuster warned blocking the memoirs would have led to an “unprecedented” outcome.

“Mr. Trump believes that simply because he alleges that Ms. Trump violated a nondisclosure agreement, one that Simon & Schuster did not know about and was not a party to, he may force Simon & Schuster to stop the presses and throw the brakes on the delivery trucks, halting publication of the book,” the publisher’s attorney Elizabeth McNamara wrote on June 30.

New York Supreme Court Justice Hal Greenwald, a judge in Dutchess County, agreed such an outcome would not have been warranted.

“The real possibility here is for S&S and the public to be irreparably harmed if the book was enjoined,” Greenwald wrote. “Certainly, there would be immense costs associated with the retrieval and confiscation of several thousand (hundred thousand) copies of the book by [Simon & Schuster] from a wide variety of book sellers. What would be the proposed cost of an undertaking if such an injunction were to ensue?”

Mary Trump, the daughter of President Trump’s late brother Fred “Freddy” Trump, Jr., had been expecting to see her hotly anticipated memoirs in bookstores Tuesday.

Courthouse News was among the news organizations that obtained an advance copy a week early, sifting through the president niece’s compelling account of family infighting, cruelty and dysfunction.

Jacket art for Mary Trump’s book “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” (Simon & Schuster via Courthouse News)

The reason for the fear the book struck in the heart of the Trump family quickly becomes evident upon reading. In it, Mary Trump accuses her aunt Maryanne Barry, a former federal judge, and her uncles Donald and Robert of having defrauded her during a sordid inheritance battle. It paints a portrait of an abusive family patriarch, Fred Trump Sr., as a cause of a U.S. president’s sociopathy and the early disintegration and death of the author’s father.

The book was made available to the press, and bumped up its release date to Bastille Day, after a New York State appellate court partially overturned Justice Greenwald’s initial ruling blocking publication, a decision skewered by First Amendment experts as an unconstitutional prior restraint.

Since the release of the Pentagon Papers, the Supreme Court kept an extraordinarily high bar for government censorship in advance of publication. The Trump family has tried to sidestep that landmark New York Times precedent, first with the president’s offensive against former national security adviser John Bolton’s “The Room Where It Happened” and then with brother Robert Trump’s lawsuit against Mary Trump’s book.

As noted in Monday’s ruling, both efforts failed, and the stakes were higher in Bolton’s case.

“Bolton was dealing with information pertaining to national security, not 20-year-old family history,” Greenwald’s ruling states.

The president’s brother Robert Trump claimed a nondisclosure agreement that his niece signed in 2001 prevented her from telling all, or even anything, of the sordid saga. But the judge noted much has changed since the original attempt at gagging her.

“What about the public right to know?” the judge asked. “The Trumps were local in 2001. The leader of the Trump family in 2020 is global.”

As in the Nixon era, the Times looms large over this free-expression fight. Mary Trump revealed herself in the book as the source of the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation from 2018, which reported the president committed tax fraud to maximize his enormous inheritance and manufacture a bogus image as a self-made man.

Toward the book’s coda, Mary Trump’s narrative reveals itself to be an alleged crime drama as much as it is a memoir and psychological analysis of the world’s most powerful man. The first-time author holds a doctorate from the Derner Institute of Advance Psychological Studies, which she puts to frequent use starting with the book’s prologue.

In her professional estimation, diagnosing President Trump with “malignant narcissism” or suffering from “narcissistic personality disorder” does not go far enough.

“A case could be made that he also meets the criteria for antisocial personality disorder, which in its most severe form is generally considered sociopathy but also can refer to chronic criminality, arrogance, and disregard for the rights of others,” she writes.

Robert Trump’s attorney Charles Harder, who also represents the president, did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

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