Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit Tuesday against his niece Mary Trump and the New York Times over a 2018 story which was based on confidential documents obtained by his estranged niece and leaked to the Times.
The lawsuit, which names Mary Trump and Times journalists Susanne Craig, David Barstow, and Russell Buettner, focuses on what it describes as “their collective efforts in tortuously breaching and/or interfering with his [Donald’s] contractual rights and otherwise maliciously conspiring against him.” Those three reporters were later awarded a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting.
“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 introduction of the lawsuit reads, concluding their actions were “motivated by a personal vendetta and their desire to gain fame, notoriety, acclaim and a financial windfall and were further intense to advance their political agenda.”
The lawsuit claims that the reporters “needlessly sought out” Mary Trump and “convinced her to smuggle the records out of her attorney’s office” and present them to the Times. The Times piece at the center of the controversy asserted that Trump “engaged in suspect tax schemes” as he “reaped riches from his father.”
“The Times attempted to capitalize on their receipt of the confidential record through the publication of various new articles,” the suit reads, adding that Mary “eventually followed suit,” publishing a book which “revealing her as the source of the unauthorized disclosure and providing a detailed account of the defendants’ wrongful conduct.”
Indeed, in the summer of 2020, Mary Trump identified herself as the individual who leaked tax information to the Times upon the news of her tell-all book.
The case is Trump v. Trump, No. 2021-53963 in the New York Supreme Court for the County of Duchess.