"In the vernacular of First year law students, '[Constitutional] Law trumps Contracts,' " the judge wrote

By Adam Carlson and Sean Neumann
July 14, 2020 08:58 AM
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Mary Trump has a lot to say — and, with a Monday ruling in her favor, it doesn't seem like anyone can stop her from speaking out.

Tuesday morning saw the release of Too Much and Never Enough, a savage new memoir from President Donald Trump's niece about her family that her uncle Robert Trump had tried to stop.

In a lawsuit late last month, Robert cited a confidentiality agreement Mary signed in 2001 in settling a suit over family money and related issues. (Mary's father, Fred Trump Jr., died in 1981; she and her brother, Fred Trump III, had sued over late patriarch Fred Trump Sr.'s estate in 2000.)

On Monday a New York judge ruled against Robert's claims, which targeted both Mary and her publisher, Simon & Schuster.

Robert had sought an injunction, arguing breach of contract and that a violation of the decades-old confidentiality would cause him "irreparable harm."

But Judge Hal Greenwald was unpersuaded, finding that Robert had not properly detailed the possible harm; that the 2001 settlement agreement's confidentiality provision was too vaguely defined and likely related to specific financial details; and that it could not apply to Mary's decision, all these years later, to speak out about the sitting president.

"Remember, at the time the Agreement was agreed upon, the Trump family were New York based real estate developers and not much else," Greenwald wrote. 'They were not elected officials or TV personalities. The issues that were the subject of the Agreement were intra family issues, not of worldwide concern, or even national interest."

Greenwald also found that Simon & Schuster was not a party to the earlier agreement, of which they said they were only recently made aware.

With a concluding quote characteristic of the 20-page decision's tone, Greenwald wrote Monday: "In the vernacular of First year law students, '[Constitutional] Law trumps Contracts.' "

His ruling — quickly lauded by both Mary's attorney and Simon & Schuster — had a limited practical effect since thousands of copies of her book had already been shipped to retailers and Simon & Schuster already made advance copies available to the press, including PEOPLE.

But it does pave the way for Mary to start speaking publicly for the first time.

Soon after the ruling was announced, a CNN reporter said that Mary was set to appear on Good Morning America on Wednesday.

On Twitter, Mary also posted a winking post about her new freedom. (Robert can appeal the ruling but it was not immediately clear he would do so. His attorney Charles Harder has yet to comment, despite earlier vowing to "vigorously litigate.")

The decision closes the latest chapter on President Trump or his family's legal efforts to block potentially embarrassing information about them. Earlier this summer, the White House unsuccessfully sought to stop a damning account from Trump's former National Security Adviser John Bolton.

“The court got it right in rejecting the Trump family’s effort to squelch Mary Trump’s core political speech on important issues of public concern," her attorney Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. said in a statement on Monday. "The First Amendment forbids prior restraints because they are intolerable infringements on the right to participate in democracy. Tomorrow, the American public will be able to read Mary’s important words for themselves.”

A Simon & Schuster spokesman concurred, saying, in part: "We are delighted that the Court has denied the plaintiff’s request for preliminary injunction, and vacated the Temporary Restraining Order against our author, Mary L. Trump. The unfettered right to publish is a sacred American freedom and a founding principle of our republic, and we applaud the Court for affirming well-established precedents against prior restraint and pre-publication injunctions."

Simon & Schuster
From left: Robert Trump and Mary Trump
Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage; Mary Trump/Twitter

What Mary's Book Says

Too Much and Never Enough has been described by Simon & Schuster as a "revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him" — while the Trump White House blasted it as full of "falsehoods," and Mary's uncle said it contains sensational mischaracterizations.

The slim volume is nonetheless a brutal depiction of several members of the Trump family — mostly President Trump and his father, Trump Sr.

Mary, a clinical psychologist mixing her memories and other accounts with her academic background, essentially sets out to diagnose and diagram the dysfunction of her relatives.

She contrasts what she calls her dad's initially sweet-souled temperament with the psychological tyranny of Trump Sr.'s worldview, which she says destroyed him. (Trump Jr. died at 42, after years of heavy drinking; Mary writes that he was alone in the hospital when he died.)

Her book has other wrinkles — Trump Sr. was not physically violent, at least to Mary's knowledge, but he warped the people around him; while her dad, a bright light, is once described as pointing a gun at her mother; elsewhere Mary writes of visiting the White House in 2017 — but Too Much and Never Enough largely excavates years and years of bad behavior by the Trump men.

Mary then adds her own psychological assessment.

"Donald's monstrosity is the manifestation of the very weakness within him that he's been running from his entire life," she writes in one passage.

The five Trump siblings, including Donald Trump
Fred Trump Jr. (left) in 1966
Louis Liotta/New York Post Archives /(c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty

"For him," she writes, "there has never been any option but to be positive, to project strength, no matter how illusory, because doing anything else carries a death sentence; my father's short life is evidence of that."

"But," according to Mary, "[President Trump] can never escape the fact that he is and always will be a terrified little boy."

Robert, Mary's uncle, called the book a "disgrace."

“Her attempt to sensationalize and mischaracterize our family relationship after all of these years for her own financial gain is both a travesty and injustice to the memory of my late brother, Fred, and our beloved parents," he told The New York Times in a statement last month.

"I and the rest of my entire family are so proud of my wonderful brother, the president, and feel that Mary’s actions are truly a disgrace,” he said then.

Mary's brother, Trump III, said in a separate statement from the Trump Organization that he considered her memoir "a breach of trust and a violation of our privacy" and that the Trumps "consider our family matters to be private."

Too Much and Never Enough remains the No. 1 bestseller on Amazon. According to court papers, Simon & Schuster has printed more than 600,000 copies.