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Trump intensifies bid to block niece's explosive book



Legal battle: Donald Trump, seen here with his wife, Ivanka, and family, is desperate to stop publication of Mary Trump’s tell-all book. Photo: Paul J. Richards/Getty Images

Legal battle: Donald Trump, seen here with his wife, Ivanka, and family, is desperate to stop publication of Mary Trump’s tell-all book. Photo: Paul J. Richards/Getty Images

Legal battle: Donald Trump, seen here with his wife, Ivanka, and family, is desperate to stop publication of Mary Trump’s tell-all book. Photo: Paul J. Richards/Getty Images

Mary L Trump was embroiled in a feud over her inheritance two decades ago when her uncle Donald Trump and his siblings punched back in classic style. In an obscure court filing, they belittled her, alleging she "lives primarily off the Trump income" and is "not gainfully employed".

Actually, Mary Trump had embarked on a new career. She studied patients with schizophrenia at Hillsdale Hospital on Long Island for at least six months during this period, meeting with an array of people who were delusional, hallucinatory and suicidal.

Over time, she deepened her studies of the disorder, contributed to a book on treating schizophrenia, wrote a dissertation on stalkers, and became a clinical psychologist. But not since she became part of the lawsuit in 2000 against her uncle has she spoken in detail about what she sees as the disorders of Donald Trump.

Now her silence could be coming to an end. Her book about her uncle - 'Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man' - is slated to be published next month.

The book is so potentially explosive that the Trump family are seeking to block publication, citing a confidentiality agreement that Mary Trump signed as part of a settlement about her inheritance.

Mary Trump's lawyer, Theodore Boutrous Jr, said the president is trying to "suppress a book that will discuss matters of utmost public importance".

The publisher has not revealed specifics, and Mary Trump (55) declined an interview request. But clues to her dark view of her uncle can be seen in lawsuits, and interviews with former colleagues and teachers, academic papers and a series of now-deleted tweets, including one that said her uncle's election was the "worst night of my life".

A description of the book from publisher Simon & Schuster suggests it will draw heavily on her studies of family dysfunction, with Mary using her clinical background to dissect "a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse," including "the strange and harmful relationship between" her late father and Donald Trump.

The tragedy to which the book description alludes probably is informed by an event that infused both her life and that of her uncle: the death of her father - President Trump's older brother Fred Jr - of alcoholism when she was 16.

Friends of her father's told 'The Washington Post' last year that they blame his death in part on the way he was treated by Donald Trump, and the president said in an interview last year that he regrets how he dealt with his brother.

Donald Trump's brother Robert, who filed the petition to stop the book, said in the filing that Mary had agreed after accepting a financial settlement from the inheritance fight that she "would not publish any account" of her relationship with Donald Trump or his siblings.

A Queens County Surrogate's Court on Thursday denied the petition, but Robert Trump's attorney said it would be refiled with the New York State Supreme Court.

From birth, Mary Trump was supposed to be set for a gilded life, a grandchild of Fred Sr and Mary. Her father, Fred Jr, was the eldest of Fred Trump Sr's children, and he was expected to become the leader of the family business.

Mary was featured in society columns as a fashionably dressed young girl, and she spent time at her grandparents' palatial home in Queens, watching her father feud with Donald and Fred Sr, who ran a New York real estate company.

Much to the family's consternation, Fred Jr was interested in becoming a pilot for TWA, not in renting New York City apartments. After graduating from Lehigh University in 1960, he married a flight attendant named Linda Lee Clapp in 1962. He went to flight school and the couple had two children, including Mary, who was born in 1965.

Fred Jr was already drinking heavily by the time Mary was born, and his troubles with alcohol may have caused him to give up his dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot, according to three former TWA employees. Meanwhile, Donald Trump and Fred Sr continued to pressure him to join the family business.

By the time Mary was six, her mother divorced Fred Jr. On September 26, 1981, Fred Trump Jr died, aged 42.

Mary eventually attended Tufts University, where she studied the Southern novelist William Faulkner. Mary and her brother Fred III had received some financial support over the years from the Trump family, and expected to receive a significant inheritance from their grandfather, Fred Sr, who died in 1999.

Mary and her brother had hoped they would get an amount close to what would have gone to their father, if he had lived, but they learned they were due to receive a lesser amount, and a probate fight ensued.

Mary and Fred III alleged that an unnamed person associated with the Trump family improperly engineered a change in the will of their grandfather, who had Alzheimer's disease during his last years. Mary and her brother said the changes in the will were "procured by fraud and undue influence".

Donald said at the time that he supported a cut-off of medical coverage that had been provided by a family company for Fred III's son, William, who had cerebral palsy.

Donald's brother Robert said in a deposition that the family had given Mary annual gifts of $20,000, in addition to income from family ventures, estimating that Mary and Fred III annually received "close to $200,000 without either one lifting a finger at any time".

Mary was livid about the family's decision to cut off medical coverage for her nephew William. She said at the time: "Given this family, it would be utterly naive to say it has nothing to do with money.

"But for both me and my brother, it has much more to do with that our father be recognised. He existed, he lived, he was their oldest son. And William is my father's grandson. He is as much a part of that family as anybody else. He desperately needs extra care." (© The Washington Post)