(Bloomberg) -- Former President Donald Trump won dismissal of a multi-million dollar fraud lawsuit filed by his niece, Mary, who accused him and his siblings of defrauding her of her minority share of the family business.
A 2001 family settlement agreement in which Mary Trump cashed out of her inheritance “unambiguously” waived her right to file any future claims against her famous uncle and aunt, former federal judge Maryanne Trump, according to a ruling Monday by New York Supreme Court Justice Robert Reed.
Reed said the accord didn’t mandate the elder Trumps to be truthful.
“The settlement did not require defendants to make true and correct representations to the plaintiff,” the judge said. “If plaintiff did not wish to forego suing on fraud she might discover in the future, she could have insisted that the releases be conditioned on the truth and accuracy of the financial information provided by defendants.”
The dismissal removes another legal threat to Trump hours before he’s expected to announce a third run for the White House, though a wide variety of litigation remains. A suit filed against Trump by his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, over alleged retaliation was also tossed out this week.
“It is encouraging to see one frivolous suit after another be tossed,” Trump attorney Alina Habba said in a statement. “I am happy the Trump family can put this ridiculous case to rest.”
‘Incorrect and Disappointing’
Mary Trump’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said she would appeal the ruling and suggested the judge had taken too long “given the age of the defendants, not to mention the fact that one of them intends to announce today that he is running again for President.”
Reed’s decision was “both incorrect and disappointing,” Kaplan said in a statement. “In our view, the court overlooked applicable case law and the well-pleaded allegations in Mary Trump’s complaint.”
Mary Trump claimed the former president and his siblings supplied her with false tax returns and financial statements for years to dupe her into believing her interest in the business was worth less than it was, ultimately resulting in her selling her share at a deflated value. The elder Trumps had been acting as fiduciaries after she inherited the minority interest upon the death of her father Fred Trump Jr., the former president’s older brother.
Mary Trump’s suit also named Donald Trump’s younger brother, Robert, who died in 2020.
Mary Trump has become a fierce critic of her uncle and wrote a tell-all book depicting him as a liar and narcissist who was coddled by an overbearing father. She overcame a lawsuit attempting to stop the book from being published.
Donald Trump separately sued his niece over her role in a New York Times report on his taxes, which won a Pulitzer Prize. Her motion to dismiss that case is still pending.
The assets at the center of the disputes include various minority interests in the Trump family real estate business that Mary Trump inherited, including the rights to more than 70 acres of land in New York City that had been developed with more than 50 buildings and a shopping center, according to the ruling. She also inherited interests in a collection of entities called Midland Associates Group, which held hundreds of apartments and other assets. She was also a beneficiary of an irrevocable trust set up by her grandfather in 1976.
The Trump family called Midland the “mini empire,” according to the ruling.
(Adds details from ruling, comments from attorneys for Donald Trump and Mary Trump)
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