Mary Trump and newspaper reporters are accused of being “involved in an insidious plot” to obtain confidential documents, according to the lawsuit filed in New York.
It claims that Ms Trump, 56, violated a settlement agreement that prohibited her from disclosing the documents.
In 2020, she revealed herself as the source of the storey in a candid memoir.
Ms Trump has not yet responded to the lawsuit. She is the daughter of Fred Trump Jr., the president’s older brother who died in 1981 at the age of 42.
Mr Trump has consistently denied the allegations contained in his niece’s book – Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man – and has unsuccessfully sued to prevent its publication.
On Tuesday, a state court lawsuit charged Susanne Craig, David Barstow, and Russell Buettner of the New York Times with contacting and working with Mr Trump’s niece as part of a “personal vendetta” against him.
“A group of journalists with the New York Times, in the middle of an extensive crusade to obtain Donald J Trump’s confidential tax records, relentlessly sought out his niece Mary… and convinced her to smuggle the records out of her attorney’s office,” the lawsuit reads.
Mr Trump allegedly “suffered significant damages” and is seeking compensation of at least $100 million.
Ms Trump describes in her book how she provided tax documents to the New York Times for use in a 14,000-word investigative article about Mr Trump’s dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud that significantly increased the fortune he received from his parents.
Ms Craig, one of the reporters named in the lawsuit, responded to the allegations via Twitter: “I knocked on Mary Trump’s door. She opened it. I think they call that journalism.”
A New York Times spokeswoman, Danielle Rhoades Ha, said the newspaper’s coverage of Mr Trump’s taxes “helped inform citizens through meticulous reporting on a subject of overriding public interest”, and that the lawsuit was “an attempt to silence independent news organisations”.
Ms Trump sued Mr Trump and two family members last year, alleging that the then-president, his sister Maryanne Trump Barry, and brother Robert Trump – who died in August – defrauded her of an inheritance.
That case remains unresolved.
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