Court narrows restraining order against Mary Trump book

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An appeals judge ruled that Simon & Schuster should not be blocked from printing or distributing the book.

New York State Supreme Court

An appeals judge has partially lifted a temporary restraining order that barred publication of a book in which President Donald Trump’s niece offers a scathing portrait of the Trump family.

In a ruling Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Alan Scheinkman said another judge erred Tuesday by issuing a broad restraining order that prohibited publisher Simon & Schuster from printing or distributing copies of the book.

“S&S is not a party to the settlement agreement [and] this Court perceives no basis for S&S to be specifically enjoined,” Scheinkman wrote in a six-page order in the suit, filed by President Trump’s brother Robert. “Unlike Ms. Trump, S&S has not agreed to surrender or relinquish any of its First Amendment rights.”

The appeals judge left the order in place against Mary Trump and “any agent” of hers, leaving some uncertainty about whether Simon & Schuster is still covered by the order or would be risking contempt of court by moving forward with plans to release the book, which is due to come out July 28 under the title: “‘Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”

A spokesman for Simon & Schuster did not directly address the company’s plans, but suggested the firm was waiting to see how the original judge on the case, Poughkeepsie-based Justice Hal Greenwald, rules on a preliminary injunction barring the memoir.

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“We support Mary L. Trump’s right to tell her story in ‘Too Much and Never Enough,‘ a work of great interest and importance to the national discourse that fully deserves to be published for the benefit of the American public,” the spokesman, Adam Rothberg, said in a statement. “As all know, there are well-established precedents against prior restraint and pre-publication injunctions, and we remain confident that the preliminary injunction will be denied.”

The suit filed last week seeks to enforce confidentiality provisions in a settlement agreement several members of the Trump family entered into in 2001 to resolve litigation over the estate of President Trump’s father, Fred Jr., who died in 1999.

Scheinkman said the earlier ruling from Greenwald failed to take into account the fact that the public interest in matters relating to the Trump family is quite different today than it was two decades ago.

“The legitimate interest in preserving family secrets may be one thing for the family of a real estate developer, no matter how successful; it is another matter for the family of the President of the United States,” the judge wrote.

Scheinkman also noted that the non-disclosure agreement in the settlement seems to be open-ended, but precedent requires that courts issuing injunctions take account of whether the restraint is “temporally and geographically reasonable.”

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“The passage of time and changes in circumstances may have rendered at least some of the restrained information less significant than it was at the time and, conversely, whatever legitimate public interest there may have been in the family disputes of a real estate developer and his relatives may be considerably heightened by that real estate developer now being President of the United States and a current candidate for re-election,” the judge said.

President Trump is listed in the settlement as one of the family members Mary Trump promises not to discuss her relationship with. While the president has endorsed the legal effort to scuttle publication of the book, he is not a party to the suit, which is captioned: “Trump v. Trump.”

Charles Harder, an attorney who is representing Robert Trump and regularly represents President Trump and the Trump campaign in similar cases seeking to enforce confidentiality agreements, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest developments in the suit.

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