Donald Trump sues niece Mary Trump, New York Times for $100 million over disclosing tax documents

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Former President Donald Trump is suing his niece and The New York Times for $100 million over what he claims was “an insidious plot” to obtain his tax records.

The lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court in Dutchess County alleges that Times journalists “relentlessly sought out his niece, Mary L. Trump” to convince her to retrieve the former president’s tax records out of her attorney’s office.

Three Times reporters are named in the lawsuit: Susanne Craig, David Barstow and Russell Buettner. In 2019, they won a Pulitzer Prize for their 18-month investigation into Trump’s finances that judges said “debunked his claims of self-made wealth and revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges.”

Trump claims in the lawsuit that his niece revealed herself as the source of the documents that were key to the Times’ reporting in her 2020 book “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”

Those documents were held at the office of Mary Trump’s attorney after settling the estate of Trump’s father, Fred C. Trump, who died in 1999. The lawsuit claims Mary Trump breached a confidentiality agreement by providing the documents to reporters.

Former President Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. speak after the fight between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort.
Former President Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. speak after the fight between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort.

The lawsuit accuses Times journalists of inducing Mary Trump to breach that settlement agreement to help produce what it describes as a “scathing report.”

"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 Times spokeswoman, in an email to USA TODAY. “This lawsuit is an attempt to silence independent news organizations and we plan to vigorously defend against it.”

Trump’s taxes have been a source of questions since the earliest days of his 2016 presidential campaign. He broke with tradition among major party candidates and did not disclose his tax returns, claiming he could not release them because of an audit.

His attorneys continue to fight attempts by Congress to obtain the records.

The 2019 Times story showed how Fred Trump provided his son with $413 million, using tax avoidance in some cases, and challenged the former president’s claims of self-made wealth.

Mary Trump could not immediately be reached for comment.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump sues niece Mary Trump, New York Times over tax records

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