A New York appellate judge overturned a temporary restraining order against Simon & Schuster on Wednesday, allowing the publisher to continue with plans to release Mary Trump’s new book about US President Donald Trump.
Robert Trump, the younger brother of Donald Trump, applied for a temporary restraining order against Mary Trump and Simon & Schuster to prevent them from publishing, printing, or distributing any part of Mary Trump’s book. The book contains descriptions of her relationship with her uncle, Donald Trump. The Dutchess County Supreme Court granted a temporary restraining order on Tuesday.
Simon & Schuster and Mary Trump, niece of Donald Trump, each separately applied to vacate or modify the temporary restraining order.
The plaintiff alleged that Mary Trump stated a major topic of the book would be her relationship with him, Donald Trump, and Maryanne Trump Barry. Neither he, Donald Trump, nor Maryanne Trump consented to the publication of the book, which allegedly violated a settlement agreement from 2001.
After Fred and Mary Anne Trump died in 1999 and 2000, Mary Trump and Fred C. Trump III brought litigation over the probate of the wills. Mary Trump, Fred C. Trump II, Linda C. Trump, and Lisa Trump objected to the probate, and Donald Trump, Maryanne Trump Barry, and Robert Trump were co-executors of the estate.This was resolved in 2001 by a settlement agreement, in which all parties were barred from disclosing settlement terms or publishing litigation or relationship descriptions without the consent of all parties of the other side.
The judge stated that it appeared Mary Trump’s book touches on subjects “within the reach of the confidentiality provision of the settlement agreement.” While parties can enter into confidentiality agreements, courts do not have to enforce them. Issuing an injunction is a question of equity.
The judge balanced the legitimate interests of the plaintiff with the public interest to determine whether to grant the injunction. While it is a legitimate interest to preserve family secrets, the judge stated that it is different when it is the family of the US president.
The judge lifted the temporary restraining order against Simon & Schuster, as it was not established that the publisher was Mary Trump’s “agent.” However, the temporary restraining order against Mary Trump was modified, so that she remains temporarily enjoined and restrained “pending the hearing of Petitioner Robert S. Trump’s within motion for a preliminary injunction.”