A New York judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the publication of a new book deemed controversial written by President Donald Trump’s niece.
Mr Trump had said the publication- “Too Much and Never Enough, How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man”- ”would violate a nondisclosure agreement Mary Trump previously signed”.
“She’s not allowed to write a book,” Mr Trump had told Axios in an interview published Sunday evening.
“You know, when we settled with her and her brother, who I do have a good relationship with — she’s got a brother, Fred, who I do have a good relationship with, but when we settled, she has a total … signed a nondisclosure,” he said.
The agreement itself is a “very powerful one,” Mr Trump added, adding, “It covers everything.”
According to the president, ”he and members of his family were blindsided last week when news of the book came to light.”
The judge, Hal Greenwald, in his ruling Tuesday, ordered a temporary injunction against Mary Trump and her publisher, Simon & Schuster Inc., over the book’s publication until a slated hearing fixed for July 10.
The book is slated to be released July 28.
President Trump’s brother, Robert, had initiated the move to block the book’s publication.
Robert Trump’s lawyer has lauded the judge’s decision in a statement Tuesday, saying his client “is very pleased” with the ruling.
“The actions of Mary Trump and Simon & Schuster are truly reprehensible,” lawyer Charles Harder wrote. “We look forward to vigorously litigating this case, and will seek the maximum remedies available by law for the enormous damages caused by Mary Trump’s breach of contract and Simon & Schuster’s intentional interference with that contract.”
A lawyer for Mary Trump and Simon & Schuster, Ted Boutrous, has vowed to appeal the decision, according to Politico.
Boutrous called the injunction “prior restraint on core political speech that flatly violates the first amendment.
“This book, which addresses matters of great concern and importance about a sitting president in election year, should not be suppressed even for one day,” the lawyer said.
Battles on many fronts
Mr Trump, who is seeking reelection amidst a biting coronavirus pandemic that has badly hit the U.S. economy, is not just battling a family member, over disclosure of possible insider information about the inner workings of his controversial persona and tenure.
The U.S. Justice Department recently filed a federal lawsuit against his former aide, John Bolton, to block the publication and sale of his White House tell-all book, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.
The American government had argued that the former national security adviser’s publication also published by Simon & Schuster, contains classified information “that cannot be released to the public”.
“This is a civil action by the United States to prevent Defendant John R. Bolton, a former National Security Advisor, from compromising national security by publishing a book containing classified information — in clear breach of agreements he signed as a condition of his employment and as a condition of gaining access to highly classified information and in clear breach of the trust placed within him by the United States Government,” read part of the 27-page court filing with the US District Court in DC.
Mr Bolton left the White House last September after he had a conflict with Mr Trump over some of his policies regarding Ukraine, North Korea and Iran, among others.
Mr Trump’s estranged aide had argued that the book does not contain any classified material.
His lawyer, Charles Cooper, also said Mr Bolton had ”spent months working with the National Security Council to ensure that and that many edits have been made to the book at the White House’s request.”
Mr Bolton had said in an interview with ABC News that Mr Trump is “stunningly uninformed,” lacks “competence to carry out the job,” and not “fit for office.”
“There really isn’t any guiding principle that I was able to discern other than what’s good for Donald Trump’s reelection,” Mr Bolton said in the interview. “He was so focused on the reelection that longer-term considerations fell by the wayside.”
Legal experts say while the White House lawsuit may not stop the publication of the book, which was billed for June 23, it could stop Mr Bolton from making profits from the sale. The suit had urged the court to set up a trust ”to direct any profits from the book to the U.S. Treasury”.