(CN) — In an extraordinary prior restraint on a tell-all book about a U.S. president, a New York judge temporarily blocked publication of Mary Trump’s memoir “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” on Tuesday.
“The trial court’s temporary restraining order is only temporary, but it still is a prior restraint on core political speech that flatly violates the First Amendment,” Theodore Boutrous, an attorney for Mary Trump with the firm Gibson Dunn, said in a statement. “We will immediately appeal. This book, which addresses matters of great public concern and importance about a sitting president in election year, should not be suppressed even for one day.”
Charles Harder, who represents Mary Trump’s court opponent, her uncle Robert Trump, also vowed to pursue this case to its bitter conclusion.
“The actions of Mary Trump and Simon & Schuster are truly reprehensible,” Harder said, referring to the book’s publisher.
The president, his brother Robert Trump and other members of the family are all parties to a nondisclosure agreement that was reached as part of a settlement of litigation with Mary Trump over the estate of the president’s father, Fred Trump Sr., in 1999.
“We look forward to vigorously litigating this case and will seek the maximum remedies available by law for the enormous damages caused by Mary Trump’s breach of contract and Simon & Schuster’s intentional interference with that contract,” Harder added. “Short of corrective action to immediately cease their egregious conduct, we will pursue this case to the very end.”
Justice Hal Greenwald, the Dutchess County judge who issued the order blocking the book, set a July 10 date to argue whether he should permanently enjoin the book.
An earlier version of the lawsuit filed in Queens was dismissed.
Greenwald’s ruling offers little rationale for taking the drastic step of preventing publication, even temporarily, which Supreme Court precedent forbids in all but the gravest circumstances.
Ever since the Supreme Court allowed The New York Times to publish the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. judiciary set an extraordinarily high bar against prior restraint of the press. No U.S. president has sought to test its restrictions on government censorship since the days of Richard Nixon.
Greenwald did not reckon with the Pentagon Papers precedent, however, hewing closely to the language proposed by Robert Trump’s legal team.
Simon & Schuster's spokesman Adam Rothberg predicted the freedom to publish would ultimately prevail.
"We are disappointed that the court has granted this temporary restraining order," Rothberg said in an email. "We plan to immediately appeal this decision to the Appellate Division, and look forward to prevailing in this case based on well-established precedents regarding prior restraint."
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