Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against his niece Mary, the New York Times, and three of its reporters over a report on his tax history, The Daily Beast reports.
The lawsuit alleges an “insidious plot” in which the Times convinced Mary Trump to “smuggle records out of her attorney’s office and turn them over to the Times” despite a 2001 confidentiality agreement she signed.
The lawsuit seeks damages “in an amount to be determined at trial, but believed to be no less than One Hundred Million Dollars” from both his niece and the newspaper.
The suit says that Times reporters David Barstow, Susanne Craig, and Russ Buettner, who won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on how little in taxes the former president paid, are “directly responsible” for Mary Trump breaking the agreement.
Trump’s brother Robert filed a previous lawsuit trying to stop Mary Trump from publishing her memoir but the judge in the case ruled that the 2001 agreement was too vague to stop her from writing the memoir and that the publisher was not party to the agreement.
Mary Trump admitted to leaking:
Mary Trump told The Daily Beast that she was “really proud” to be the Times’ source.
“But I have to be honest with you, I didn’t even remember I had [the Confidential Records],” she said. “It’s entirely down to the brilliant Susanne Craig for, one, reminding me that I had them and, two, so effectively and tenaciously trying to convince—I mean it took her months before I did—so it’s entirely down to her.”
After the lawsuit was filed, she told the Daily Beast that her uncle is a “fucking loser, and he is going to throw anything against the wall he can.”
“It’s desperation,” she said. “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.”
NYT pushes back:
“The Times’ coverage of Donald Trump’s taxes helped inform citizens through meticulous reporting on a subject of overriding public interest,” a spokesperson for the newspaper told the Daily Beast. “This lawsuit is an attempt to silence independent news organizations and we plan to vigorously defend against it.”
Craig responded to the lawsuit on Twitter.
“I knocked on Mary Trump’s door. She opened it. I think they call that journalism,” she wrote.
Trump, meanwhile, hinted at additional lawsuits.
“More to come, including on other people, and Fake News media,” he said in a statement.