Donald Trump on Tuesday sued his niece Mary and The New York Times over their reporting on his tax affairs, accusing them of ‘an insidious plot’ to obtain confidential records, and is seeking an excess of $100 million in damages.
The former president filed his case against Mary, the paper and three of its reporters.
In the suit, reported by The Daily Beast, Trump claims that the Times convinced Mary Trump to ‘smuggle records out of her attorney’s office and turn them over to The Times’ despite her having signed a confidentiality agreement.
She signed the deal in 2001 after settling a contentious legal battle over the will of Frederick Trump – Donald’s father and her grandfather.
Trump is seeking damages ‘in an amount to be determined at trial, but believed to be no less than One Hundred Million Dollars’.
The suit says: ‘The defendants engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records which they exploited for their own benefit and utilized as a means of falsely legitimizing their publicized works.
‘The defendants’ actions were motivated by a personal vendetta and their desire to gain fame, notoriety, acclaim and a financial windfall and were further intended to advance their political agenda’
Donald Trump, pictured in September 2020, on Tuesday sued over the publication of his tax returns
Mary Trump provided The New York Times with her uncle’s financial records
Mary, 56, the daughter of his late brother Fred, laughed off the suit.
‘I think he is a f****** loser, and he is going to throw anything against the wall he can,’ she said.
‘It’s desperation. The walls are closing in and he is throwing anything against the wall that will stick.
Mary Trump said she was ‘really proud’ of handing over the tax records
‘As is always the case with Donald, he’ll try and change the subject.’
Even though The Times did not sign a confidentiality agreement, as Mary did, Trump claims that they too are liable because ‘their collective efforts in tortiously breaching and/or interfering with his contractual rights and otherwise maliciously conspiring against him’ make them liable as well.
Mary Trump in April told a podcast that she was proud of handing his financial records over to the paper.
‘I’m actually really proud of that,’ she said.
‘But I have to be honest with you, I didn’t even remember I had [the Confidential Records].
‘It’s entirely down to the brilliant Susanne Craig for, one, reminding me that I had them and, two, so effectively and tenaciously trying to convince – I mean it took her months before I did – so it’s entirely down to her.’
The New York Times is yet to respond to Trump’s suit, but is no stranger to his legal threats
The analysis of his tax returns, published in May 2019, challenged his frequent boast of being a brilliant businessman, and showed $1 billion in losses.
The ten years of tax returns, for the years 1985 to 1994, showed $1.17 billion in losses for the decade.
The paper reported that Trump appeared to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer.
He lost so much money that he was able to avoid paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years.
The then-president was furious at the publication of the tax documents.
He had long refused to lay bare his tax records, as per all previous presidential candidates – arguing that he was being audited, so it was not possible to do so. Accountants said there was no sense in his argument.
Mary Trump in July 2020 published a damning account of her life as a member of the family
A year after handing over the damaging documents, Mary, a trained psychologist, then published a tell-all book about her family, entitled Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.
The book sold more than 1.35 million copies in its first week, and in August she published a post-Trump follow-up, entitled The Reckoning.
She has also filed a suit against her uncle, accusing him and two of his siblings of defrauding her of her inheritance. The case is pending.