In at least a temporary blow to the First Amendment rights of free speech and a free press, a state court judge in Poughkeepsie, New York blocked the publication of a tell-all book authored by President Trump’s niece, Mary Trump.
The judge scheduled a hearing for July 10 to determine the legitimacy and scope of a nondisclosure agreement that Mary Trump signed when settling a dispute with family members over the distribution of the estate of President Trump’s late father, Fred Trump Sr., in 2001.
“The trial court’s temporary restraining order is only temporary, but it still is a prior restraint on core political speech that flatly violates the First Amendment,” said Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., the attorney Mary Trump and her publisher, in a statement. “We will immediately appeal. This book, which addresses matters of great public concern and importance about a sitting president in an election year, should not be suppressed even for one day.”
Publisher Simon and Schuster had planned to release the book for sale at bookstores on July 28. But such publishers typically release such books weeks in advance of that date to reviewers and other influencers in the hopes of generating positive reviews and public interest. Even hints about contents of the book have helped boost Ms. Trump’s book to the top on Amazon’s bestseller list.
Nondisclosure agreements in legal settlements typically encompass only matters pertinent to the legal issues in the case at hand. Mary Trump’s book, according to the publisher, encompasses matters far beyond the probate of Fred Trump Sr.’s estate.
Robert D. Lystad is the Executive Director of the non-profit Campaign for Free Speech, based in Washington, D.C.