By MICHAEL BALSAMO and COLLEEN LONG Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — A New York City judge on Thursday dismissed a claim by Donald Trump’s brother that sought to halt the publication of a tell-all book by the president’s niece, saying the court lacked jurisdiction in the case.
Surrogates Court Judge Peter Kelly said the claims were not appropriate for his court, where disputes over estate matters are settled.
The motion filed earlier this week sought an injunction to prevent Mary Trump and the book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, from releasing it, as scheduled, in July.
Mary Trump is the daughter of Fred Trump Jr., the president’s elder brother, who died in 1981. An online description of her book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” says it reveals “a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse.”
Robert Trump’s lawyers filed court papers saying that Mary Trump and others had signed a settlement agreement that would prohibit her from writing the book. They said the deal included a “substantial financial settlement” for Mary Trump.
The settlement nearly two decades ago included a confidentiality clause explicitly saying they would not “publish any account concerning the litigation or their relationship,” unless they all agreed, the court papers said.
Published accounts of the book’s contents say it contains an “insider’s perspective” of “countless holiday meals” and family interactions and family events, along with personal observations by Mary Trump, a psychologist, about her “supposedly toxic family,” according to the court papers.
The agreement related to the will of Donald Trump’s father, New York real estate developer Fred Trump.
In their court papers, lawyers for Robert Trump said the book also has been promoted as containing insight into the “inner workings” of the Trump family and allegations that the late Fred Trump and the president neglected Mary Trump’s father, “supposedly contributing to his early death.”
Mary Trump’s attorney, Ted Boutrous Jr., said the court was correct in its decision.
“We hope this decision will end the matter. Democracy thrives on the free exchange of ideas, and neither this court nor any other has authority to violate the Constitution by imposing a prior restraint on core political speech,” he said in a statement.
The White House and lawyers for Robert Trump did not have an immediate comment Thursday.
A spokesman for Simon & Schuster said in a statement that the publishing house was “delighted” with the decision.
“We look forward to publishing Mary L. Trump’s ‘Too Much and Never Enough,’ and are confident we will prevail should there be further efforts to stifle this publication,” spokesperson Adam Rothberg said.
Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister in New York contributed to this report.