Mary Trump won a legal victory against her family on Thursday after a lawsuit seeking to enjoin publication of her forthcoming tell-all memoir was tossed by a New York judge on jurisdictional grounds. Her attorney, Ted Boutrous, quickly took a victory lap online.
“The court has promptly and correctly held that it lacks jurisdiction to grant the Trump family’s baseless request to suppress a book of utmost public importance and concern,” he said in a statement posted via Twitter. “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.”
The court’s decision, however, is not likely to end the legal matter.
Titled, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man is set for publication by Simon & Schuster. Earlier this week, the Trump family sough a temporary and permanent injunction against publication of the book by filing their lawsuit with the New York City Surrogate’s Court.
The court’s own description they only hear “adoptions” as well as cases “involving the affairs of decedents, including the probate of wills and the administration of estates.” The legal action was initiated nonetheless.
Robert Trump led the charge on behalf of the Trump family, hiring attorney Charles Harder, who filed the doomed claims in the wrong court. The idea to file in the Surrogate’s Court was apparently based on Mary Trump previously signing a nondisclosure and confidentiality agreement (NDA) which somehow involves assets from the estate of Fred Trump, the Trump family patriarch. The soon-to-be released book presumably touches upon those assets and the NDA.
Judge Peter J. Kelly briefly noted that aside from such a tangential relationship to estate issues, the actual administration of the Trump family estate was not implicated “one iota.”
“Today, the Surrogate’s Court ruled that it does not have jurisdiction over the dispute,” Harder said in a statement. “Therefore, Robert Trump will proceed with filing a new lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court.”
Boutrous signaled his client’s willingness to re-litigate against her family should they retry their efforts to squelch the book, telling CNN “we are ready.”
Mary Trump’s attorney has previously cast the court battle in terms of truth-telling versus an unconstitutional attempt to censor.
“They are pursuing this unlawful prior restraint because they do not want the public to know the truth,” Boutrous said earlier this week. “The courts will not tolerate this brazen violation of the First Amendment.”
That prediction is likely to hold the day here again–even if Harder and his clients do eventually file their claims in the correct court.
“Where a court may issue a prior restraint, it’s just always going to be in a case where the underlying speech is unprotected, whereas this is a breach of contract case,” University of Georgia Law Professor and First Amendment expert Jonathan Peters recently told Vanity Fair. “The category of speech least likely to be subject to a prior restraint is political speech. This book would qualify as political speech because it’s about the current president.”
Something of a First Amendment expert himself, Boutrous previously represented CNN in a successful lawsuit against the Trump White House. Harder, on the other hand, has come up short when threatening CNN on President Donald Trump’s behalf.
[image via Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]