Former U.S. President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against The New York Times, three of its reporters, and his niece Mary Trump, for hatching an “insidious plot” to publish an article that was partially based on his confidential tax records.
In the lawsuit, Trump alleged that his niece violated a settlement agreement that forbids her from disclosing confidential tax records that she acquired while settling a legal battle over the will of the former president’s father, Frederick Trump, who passed away in 1999.
Trump also claimed that three of the Times’ investigative reporters – namely Susanne Craig, David Barstow, and Russell Buettner – has relentlessly persuaded his niece “to smuggle the records out of her attorney’s office and turn it over to the Times” which then resulted to the breach of the settlement agreement.
“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 said.
Trump’s lawsuit also alleged that the Times journalists “unjustly reaped significant personal, professional and/or business-related benefit(s), including, but not limited to, monetary gain, fame, acclaim, notoriety, inflated market valuation, increased revenue, and/or career advancement.”
Craig, Barstow and Buettner published an article in 2018 which elaborated the former president’s “dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents.”
The three journalists won a Pulitzer Prize in 2019.
In response to the lawsuit, Mary Trump described it as the former president’s sign of “desperation”.
“I think he is a loser, and he is going to throw anything against the wall he can. It’s desperation. The walls are closing in and he is throwing anything against the wall that he thinks will stick. As is always the case with Donald, he’ll try and change the subject,” she said.
Mary Trump revealed herself as the Times’ source of the former president’s tax information in a book that she published in 2020.
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