A version of this article first appeared in the "Reliable Sources" newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.
Bad news for President Trump and his younger brother, Robert Trump, who has been trying to block an unflattering tell all book by the President's niece, Mary Trump, that Simon & Schuster is set to publish in July.
On Wednesday evening, a New York appellate court lifted the temporary restraining order against Simon & Schuster, a decision that allows the publisher to move forward with printing copies of the book and shipping them to retailers. The court left the temporary restraining order in place for Mary Trump until a hearing on July 10.
Make no mistake: This is a blow to Robert Trump's attempt to block the book. Simon & Schuster had already said that it had printed 75,000 copies of the book and shipped copies to booksellers. By July 10's hearing, the publisher will be further along in its preparation for publishing the book on its scheduled release date of July 28. In other words, the horse will be that much closer to being out of the barn.
The appellate court also noted that "while parties are free to enter into confidentiality agreements, courts are not necessarily obligated to specifically enforce them" and said that such agreements are "alternatively enforceable through the impassion of money damages." The suggestion that money damages might be a way to resolve the legal dispute, instead of an injunction, also doesn't appear to bode well for Robert Trump's case...
"We are gratified"
In a statement, Simon & Schuster celebrated the court's decision. "We are gratified with the Appellate Court's decision to overturn the Temporary Restraining Order issued by the lower court against Simon & Schuster," the company said in a statement. The publisher said that it supported Mary Trump's "right to tell her story." Simon & Schuster added, "As all know, there are well-established precedents against prior restraint and pre-publication injunctions, and we remain confident that the preliminary injunction will be denied."
Mary Trump's attorney to file brief Thursday
Ted Boutrous, the renowned First Amendment attorney representing Mary Trump, who has also represented CNN in the past, welcomed the court's decision as "very good news." Boutrous added, "We look forward to filing our brief tomorrow in the trial court explaining why the same result is required as to Ms. Trump, based on the First Amendment and basic contract law."
No comment from Harder
Meanwhile, there was silence from Robert Trump's side of the dispute. I emailed Charles Harder, the lawyer representing him, and didn't hear back. Sometimes, silence can be telling...