‘It was cover-up’: Mary Trump’s lawyers defend fraud case against Donald Trump and his aunt in court hearing
A New York state judge appeared skeptical of arguments put forward by lawyers for Donald Trump and his sister Maryanne Trump Barry to dismiss the lawsuit of their niece Mary Trump seeking damages and compensation for allegedly defrauding her millions of dollars in real estate interest from her late grandfather’s estate.
Ms Trump, a trained clinical psychologist, filed a complaint in September 2020, months after her bestselling book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Made the World’s Most Dangerous Man featured her as the primary source of a Pulitzer Prize winner New York Times report detailing how Mr Trump, Ms Barry and their late brother Robert Trump allegedly worked with their grandfather Fred Trump Sr to embezzle funds from rental properties, in which Ms Trump allegedly inherited interests from her late father, Fred Trump Jr.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants conspired to carry out “a complex ploy to divert funds from her interests, hide their scam and deceive her on the true value of what she had inherited” in the years 1981, when her father died of an alcohol-related heart attack and the death of Fred Trump Sr. in 1999.
He further alleges that the Trump siblings “presented her with a stack of fraudulent valuations and a so-called settlement agreement” and tricked her into relinquishing her interests on the basis of fraud that did not not been discovered until the Time exhibit in 2018.
Maryanne Trump Barry Trump, who retired in 2017 from his post as a judge at the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in December 2020, which her brother and executor of the estate of Robert Trump (who died in August of the same year) joined in January 2021.
The defendants argued that the action should be dismissed because Mary Trump’s claims are barred by the New York statute of limitations for her claims, and because she waived her right to sue them by signing waivers as part of a settlement agreement to end the litigation over her grandfather’s will. .
In arguments before the New York Supreme Court, Justice Robert Reed, Ms Barry’s attorney Gary Friedman claimed Ms Trump was a “sophisticated actress” when she signed the disclaimers after being portrayed by a lawyer who was “competent” at the time.
Justice Reed did not appear to accept the argument.
Noting Ms. Trump’s training, he said he had “no doubt” that she would be “sophisticated in the field of psychology,” but expressed doubts that her alleged sophistication extended to questions of “property management”.
When Mr Friedman argued that Ms Trump admitted she was aware of the alleged fraud in a passage from her book that recalls how she felt she had been lied to during settlement talks, the lawyer responded : “Lying does not amount to fraud”.
A lawyer for the former president, James Kiley, said the Time’ an award-winning report could not have been what warned him of the fraud because “nothing” in the report “was a revelation”, but he further argued that the report showed Mrs Trump did not exercises due diligence by not reviewing documents herself.
In response, Ms Trump’s attorney John Quinn told the judge that the Time The investigation was much more complex than that as it revealed how the Trump siblings used a company they called All County Building Supply and Maintenance to siphon off funds from what Mrs Trump would have inherited.
“It was cover-up, and by definition cover-up does not give notice of the fraud it is covering up,” he said.