Former President Donald Trump has sued his niece Mary Trump and The New York Times for several stories the paper published in 2018 about the Trumps’ wealth, including the family’s tax practices.
Mary Trump revealed in her memoir Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man last year that she had provided financial documents to the Times.
The former president’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday in New York, alleges that Mary Trump’s disclosure of those documents violated a 2001 settlement agreement. It seeks “damages in an amount to be determined at trial, but believed to be no less than one hundred million dollars.”
Trump’s suit also accuses the Times and several journalists — Susanne Craig, David Barstow, and Russ Buettner — of “tortious interference” in the settlement agreement when they “relentlessly sought out his niece, Mary Trump, and convinced her to smuggle the records out of her attorney’s office and turn them over to the Times.”
In response to the news of the lawsuit, Craig wrote, “I knocked on Mary Trump’s door. She opened it. I think they call that journalism.”
The Pulitzer-winning investigation by the Times journalists revealed tax avoidance schemes that the Trump family had used over the years and challenged the claim of Trump’s self-made wealth.
“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 lawsuit says.
Mary Trump responded to the lawsuit by calling it a sign of desperation.
“I think he is a f***ing loser, and he is going to throw anything against the wall he can,” Mary Trump told The Daily Beast, which was the first outlet to report the suit. “It’s desperation. The walls are closing in and he is throwing anything against the wall that will stick. As is always the case with Donald, he’ll try and change the subject.”
In a statement, the Times said it would challenge the lawsuit.
“The Times's coverage of Donald Trump's taxes helped inform citizens through meticulous reporting on a subject of overriding public interest,” said Danielle Rhoades Ha, a spokesperson for the paper told NBC News. “This lawsuit is an attempt to silence independent news organizations and we plan to vigorously defend against it.”