Donald Trump has filed a $100m (£73.2m) lawsuit against his niece Mary Trump, The New York Times, and three of their reporters over a 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning story on the former president's tax records.
The lawsuit states that they hatched an "insidious plot" to gather his undisclosed finances “which they exploited for their own benefit and utilised as a means of falsely legitimising their publicised works.”
The story also detailed allegations of Trump's involvement with “dubious tax schemes.”
The former president claimed he got no financial help from his father Fred C Trump, but the paper revealed he had acquired at least $413mn (£302.5mn), debunking his promises of being a self-made billionaire.
The report also claimed that there was so much money available due to his parents dodging taxes.
The complaint outlined that Mr Trump's niece had signed a confidentiality agreement in 2001 following a legal challenge in her grandfather's will, The Independent reports.
It added that NYT reports Susanne Craig, David Barstow and Russell Buettner “relentlessly sought out” Ms Trump and “convinced her to smuggle the records out of her attorney’s office” and give it to them.
The lawsuit says NYT “attempted to capitalise on their receipt of the confidential record through their publication of various news articles.”
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Trump also claimed his niece had made an "ill-conceived effort to profit from these same events" after publishing a memoir Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.
In 2020, a judge allowed the publishing of the book, after being pulled up in a legal battle with Donald Trump's brother, Robert Trump, saying that the non-disclosure agreement signed in 2001 was "too vague".
Trump on Tuesday said that "in clear and blatant violation of the Settlement Agreement, Mary Trump turned over the Confidential Records (sic)” to the NYT reporters.
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Unlike other presidents, Trump refused to make his tax records public and stated in the lawsuit that he suffered damages “no less than One Hundred Million Dollars” as a result of the alleged actions.
When Daily Beast first reported on the lawsuit, Ms Trump told the news site that she thought her uncle was "a f***ing loser, and he is going to throw anything against the wall he can."
"It’s desperation," she said.
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"The walls are closing in and he is throwing anything against the wall that will stick."
"As is always the case with Donald, he’ll try and change the subject."
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A spokesperson for New York Times said their coverage of Mr Trump’s taxes “helped inform citizens through meticulous reporting on a subject of overriding public interest.
"This lawsuit is an attempt to silence independent news organisations and we plan to vigorously defend against it," they added.
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