Former President Trump filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against his niece, Mary Trump, as well as The New York Times and three of its reporters, alleging that they engaged in an insidious plot to gain access to sensitive records and were "motivated by a personal vendetta" for a 2018 story on his tax records.
The case was filed in Dutchess County, New York, and identified Times writers Susanne Craig, David Barstow, and Russell Buettner, who collaborated on a series in 2018 based on Trump's private tax and financial documents, which the former president has fought making public for years.
Mary Trump and three New York Times reporters - Susanne Craig, David Barstow, and Russell Buettner - were involved in an "insidious scheme and an extended battle" to acquire Trump's taxes, according to the complaint.
Mary Trump faces lawsuit after revealing uncles' tax returns
Craig, Barstow, and Buettner won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2019 for their series of pieces that gave the public unparalleled access to the former president's finances, as per NBC News.
According to the complaint, Mary Trump revealed Trump's tax returns to The New York Times in her best-selling 2020 book "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man" and in media appearances. The book presents an authoritative portrayal of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that produced him, according to the daughter of Trump's brother, Fred Jr.
The paper's spokesperson told the Daily Beast on Tuesday night that "The New York Times' coverage of Donald Trump's taxes aided citizens by providing rigorous reporting on a topic of utmost public interest. We intend to firmly defend ourselves against this lawsuit, which is an effort to suppress independent news organizations."
A request for comment from the former president's spokesperson was not immediately returned. Mary Trump sued then-President Donald Trump, his sister, retired federal appeals court Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, and the executor of his brother Robert Trump's estate, who had died months before, shortly after the publication of her book, accusing them of allegedly stealing millions of dollars from her following the death of her father, Frederick Trump Jr., in 1981.
Trump argues NY Times is also responsible of maliciously plotting against him
Although The New York Times did not sign a confidentiality agreement, Trump argues that they are also responsible because of their combined efforts in tortiously breaking or interfering with his contractual rights and generally maliciously plotting against him.
In April, Mary Trump said on a podcast that she was proud of her husband's financial documents being handed over to the newspaper. In May 2019, an analysis of his tax records revealed $1 billion in losses, contradicting his repeated claims of being a brilliant businessman.
Per Daily Mail, the 10 years of tax returns, from 1985 to 1994, revealed a total loss of $1.17 billion for the decade. According to the paper, Trump looked to have lost more money than nearly every other American taxpayer.
He lost so much money that for eight of the ten years he was able to avoid paying income taxes. The release of the tax records infuriated the then-president. He had long refused, as had all prior presidential candidates, to reveal his tax returns, claiming that he was being audited and that it was impossible to do so.
A year after giving over the damaging records, Mary, a professional psychologist, released Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man, a tell-all book about her family.
The book sold over 1.35 million copies in its first week, and she followed up in August with The Reckoning, a post-Trump followup. She has also filed a lawsuit against her uncle and two of his siblings, accusing them of stealing her fortune. The case is pending.