Trump sues New York Times and his niece over tax report, alleging “insidious plot”

Former President Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump on Tuesday over the news outlet’s 2018 reporting on his tax records, the Daily Beast first reported.

Details: The suit, filed in New York’s Dutchess County, alleges NYT journalists “engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records” and that they “convinced” Mary Trump to “smuggle records out of her attorney’s office and turn them over to The Times.”

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Of note: Trump challenged the release of a book by Mary Trump on him last year, telling Axios’ Jonathan Swan she was “not allowed” to write it due to a non-disclosure agreement she signed. A judge ruled publisher Simon & Schuster did not seem bound by this.

  • Trump alleges in his suit against the NYT and his niece that she “committed a material breach of the Settlement Agreement by disclosing, assisting and/or providing confidential information to The Times.”

Why it matters: NYT journalists Susanne Craig, David Barstow and Russell Buettner, who are named in the suit, won a Pulitzer Prize in 2019 for their reporting on Trump’s finances that debunked his claims of self-made wealth and revealed allegations of a business empire riddled with tax dodges.

  • Craig and Buettner worked on another bombshell NYT report with Mike McIntire, who’s not named in the suit, seven weeks before the 2020 presidential election that detailed over two decades‘ worth of tax-return data from Trump and the companies that make up his business.

  • Trump has for years been fighting the release of his tax returns and other financial records.

What they’re saying: NYT spokesperson Danielle Rhoades said in an emailed statement that the Times planned to “vigorously defend” the lawsuit, which she said was “an attempt to silence independent news organizations.”

  • Mary Trump responded to suit by telling the Daily Beast that her “loser” uncle was acting out of “desperation” because “the walls are closing in” on him.

  • Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Axios’ request for comment.

Go deeper: Trump to fight release of tax returns to Congress

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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