Trump Just Got Legal Win In NY Appeals Court

Trump Just Got Legal Win In NY Appeals Court

After being found guilty of a crime on Thursday, former President Donald Trump has found a silver lining: he now has the opportunity to sue his niece for providing the New York Times with his tax return information in 2018.

On the same day, according to Reuters, a New York state court of appeals ruled that the former president had the right to pursue legal action against Mary Trump for sharing confidential tax information with the mainstream media, which later won a Pulitzer Prize for its investigation.

The Manhattan Appellate Division determined that there was a "substantial" legal basis for Trump to argue that Mary Trump violated an agreement that kept the documents confidential as part of a settlement involving Fred Trump Sr.'s estate.

This ruling upheld a similar decision made by state Supreme Court Justice Robert Reed in 2023. However, Reed had previously dismissed Trump’s lawsuits against the Times journalists and imposed a $392,639 compensation order.

Although the five-member appeals court noted that the timing of the agreement still needs clarification, Trump is expected to argue that the agreement was still valid at the time of the leak.

Some parts of the ruling suggest that Trump might only be entitled to a small portion of the $100 million in damages he is seeking from his niece. The court stated that "at the very least, nominal damages may still be available on the breach of contract claim even in the absence of actual damages."

Mary Trump's lawyers criticized the ruling, claiming it ignored the former president’s efforts to "chill and retaliate against" her for communicating with a media outlet, a tactic known as a SLAPP defense (strategic lawsuits against public participation).

"Mary has made valuable contributions to the public’s knowledge of the former president with her unique perspective as a family member," her lawyer Anne Champion said in a statement.

"We are confident she will be vindicated as the case proceeds." Champion also noted that Trump "can claim no injury for the publication of truthful information."

Trump's lawyer Alina Habba praised the ruling, stating that Mary Trump will be held "fully accountable for her blatant and egregious breach of contract."

In the hours following the announcement of the Republican presidential front-runner’s verdict in the hush money trial, the case against his niece might become another rallying point for conservatives supporting him. Trump was found guilty on all 34 felony counts, which he attributed to a "rigged" trial. This sentiment seemed to resonate with voters, as his campaign website crashed from the influx of supporters donating to him immediately. Additionally, several wealthy contributors revealed making six-figure donations to President Trump’s political action committees. Meanwhile, President Biden refrained from commenting directly, instead launching his own fundraising campaign and telling supporters that "the only way to beat Donald Trump is at the ballot box."

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