Appeals court rules Trump may sue niece over NYT article

by | May 30, 2024

A New York state appeals court has ruled that President Trump is entitled to pursue legal action against his niece, Mary Trump, for providing the New York Times with information that contributed to its 2018 investigation into his taxes and financial practices.

The Appellate Division in Manhattan determined there is a “substantial” legal foundation for Trump’s assertion that Mary Trump breached confidentiality clauses from a 2001 settlement concerning the estate of his father, Fred Trump Sr.

A five-judge panel noted the ambiguity surrounding whether Mary Trump's disclosures were covered by confidentiality provisions, and the duration for which both parties intended these provisions to remain effective.

Mary Trump's lawyers argued that the lawsuit violated a state law that prohibits frivolous cases intended to silence critics and retaliate against their free speech. Such cases are known as strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPPs.

Thursday's decision upheld a June 2023 ruling by Justice Robert Reed of the state Supreme Court.

In November 2022, Reed dismissed Mary Trump's separate lawsuit that accused her uncle and two of his siblings of defrauding her out of a multi-million-dollar inheritance.

The New York Times' reporting challenged Donald Trump's claim of being a self-made billionaire, revealing that he had received the equivalent of $413 million from his father, primarily through “dubious” tax schemes in the 1990s. Donald Trump has denied any wrongdoing. 

Alina Habba, a lawyer for Donald Trump, stated that he looked forward to holding his niece “fully accountable for her blatant and egregious breach of contract.”





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