Mary Trump, the former president’s niece from Rockville Centre, asked an appeals court on Wednesday to overturn a judge’s decision to reject her claims that her uncle Donald Trump and two of his siblings defrauded her of millions of dollars in a 2001 family settlement.
The lawsuit had been tossed out Monday by Robert R. Reed, a state court justice in Manhattan. Mary Trump had sought unspecified damages from her relatives, who had denied any fraud occurred.
Two days later, attorney Roberta Kaplan appealed the decision to a state appeals court, citing multiple errors.
Reed said lawyers for former President Trump, his sister Maryanne Trump Barry, and for the estate of his deceased brother Robert S. Trump had shown that Mary Trump signed releases at the time of the settlement freeing her relatives from any future claims by her.
“These documents clearly and unambiguously released defendants from unknown claims including fraud claims,” Reed wrote. “There is no indication that the parties intended to limit the releases to known claims at the time they executed the releases and settlement agreement.”
Kaplan said in a statement that the ruling was “obviously disappointing, especially since it comes so late — more than two years after our case was filed.”
A lawyer for the former president didn’t return a message seeking comment.
The lawsuit had alleged that Mary Trump, a psychologist, was duped and manipulated by her uncles and aunt, a former federal judge, to reach the agreement pertaining to real estate business interests she inherited along with her brother when her father, Fred Trump Jr., died in 1981.
According to the lawsuit, Donald Trump and his siblings devalued Mary Trump’s interests, which included a share of hundreds of New York City apartments, by millions of dollars even before Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump Sr., died on June 25, 1999.
After the family patriarch’s death, Mary Trump and her brother filed objections to the will and Donald Trump and his siblings “ratcheted up the pressure” to settle by cutting off health insurance to their niece and nephew, the lawsuit said.
It said the action amounted to “unfathomable cruelty” because Fred Trump III’s third child, born hours after Fred Trump Sr.’s funeral, was having seizures and required extensive medical care, including months in a neonatal intensive care unit.
The lawsuit was filed the same year as the publication of Mary Trump’s book: Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.
Kaplan said the appeal of Monday’s ruling has multiple grounds, but one in particular stands out.
“We believe that the court overlooked certain key factual allegations, including that Mary Trump had a metaphorical “gun to her head” since the Trumps cruelly terminated the health insurance necessary to provide life-saving medical care for her then infant nephew,” she said.
Mary Trump has said she learned of the fraud only after a deep analysis of the Trump family financial history by The New York Times that discussed how Donald Trump and his siblings inherited and built fortunes.
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