Maryanne Trump Barry, a former federal judge who was Donald J. Trump’s older sister and was both his lifelong protector and critic, has died. She was 86 years old.
He died at his home on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, according to three people familiar with the matter. Two of them said police were called to the home early Monday morning. None of the people specified a cause and all spoke on condition of anonymity. A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Judge Barry had been on the federal court in New Jersey, a position given to lawyer Roy M. Cohn, who helped Trump achieve it under President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. He retired in 2019 after of becoming the center of a judicial investigation stemming from a New York Times investigation into the Trump family’s tax practices.
Trump seemed to pay as much attention to the words of few people as he did to those of his older sister, according to his confidants. But their relationship suffered a major fissure in the final year of his presidency, when her niece Mary L. Trump, who was promoting a memoir about her family, released recordings of her aunt speaking harshly about President.
Judge Barry, a Republican, was appointed to the District Court of New Jersey by President Reagan in 1983. President Bill Clinton elevated her to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 1993. She was the widow of John J. Barry, a veteran of judgment. and appellate attorney in New Jersey.
He resigned from his position after The Times discovered that the Trumps had engaged in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s to increase the inherited wealth of Trump and his brothers. Judge Barry not only benefited financially from most of these schemes, The Times concluded; He was also in a position to influence the actions taken by his family.
At the time, she had been listed as an inactive senior judge for two years. Her retirement raised the judicial inquiry, since retired judges are not subject to rules of judicial conduct.
Judge Barry’s scathing comments about her brother were made in a series of audio recordings surreptitiously recorded by Mary Trump in 2018 and 2019 while Mrs. Trump was working on the book “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the Most Dangerous Man.” of the world”. (2020). The audio tapes, made available to Washington Postincluded criticism that went beyond other caustic comments contained in Mrs. Trump’s book.
“Your damn tweet and your lies… oh my God,” Judge Barry said in one of the recordings. “I’m speaking too freely, but, you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lie”.
At another point he said: “All he wants to do is appeal to his base. It has no principles. None.” And he added: “It’s falsehood and this cruelty. Donald is cruel.” “You can’t trust him,” he said.
In 2020, Mary Trump filed a lawsuit accusing the president and his siblings of defrauding her out of her inheritance. She stated that, for the Trumps, “fraud was not just a family business, it was a way of life.”
The White House responded that Mrs. Trump’s accusations were self-serving.
Trump, 77, a favorite for the Republican presidential nomination even as he faces dozens of criminal charges in four cases, has suffered several personal losses in recent years.
His younger brother, Robert, died in 2020 and the president held a funeral for him at the White House. His first wife, Ivana Trump, died last year. Another brother, Fred Jr., died in 1981 at age 43. Judge Barry was the eldest of the Trump brothers.
Maryanne Elizabeth Trump, granddaughter of German immigrants, was born on April 5, 1937 in New York City, daughter of Fred and Mary (McLeod) Trump. Her father, the real estate magnate and source of the family’s wealth, developed thousands of apartments in Brooklyn and Queens. Her mother was a Scottish immigrant.
The family lived in the Jamaica Estates section of Queens. Judge Barry once recalled: “The first time I realized my father was successful was when I was 15 and a friend said to me, ‘Your father is rich.’ “We were privileged but I didn’t know it.”
He attended the private Kew-Forest School in Queens and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts in 1958. He earned a master’s degree in public law and government from Columbia University in 1962.
After 13 years as a housewife, she enrolled in law school at Hofstra University on Long Island, where she was editor of its law journal. She graduated in 1974 and began working for the government, becoming an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey. She was the first female assistant U.S. attorney from 1981 to 1983, placing her, at the time, among the highest-ranking women in a U.S. attorney’s office.
Her marriage to David Desmond in 1960 ended in divorce in 1980. She married Mr. Barry in 1982. He died in 2000.
In addition to his brother, his immediate survivors include a younger sister, Elizabeth Trump Grau, and a son from his first marriage, David William Desmond.
She was considered a harsh judge. Judge Barry rejected a plea deal that would have freed two detectives accused of protecting a drug dealer; They were tried and convicted. She ruled in favor of a Gambian refugee and lambasted the magistrate who had questioned her asylum claim. The magistrate was later dismissed.
In 2000, Judge Barry wrote the majority opinion in an appeals court decision that struck down a New Jersey ban on late-term abortions, saying it was vaguely worded and placed an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to privacy in medical decision making.
As tough as she was in court, Judge Barry suggested that women relax a bit on the issue of sexual harassment.
“I am second to none at condemning the sexual harassment of women,” she told the Interagency Committee on Women in Law Enforcement in 1992. “But what’s happening is that every long-ago sexy joke, every flirtation , is remembered by some women. and reviewed and reevaluated as sexual harassment. “Many of these accusations are, by anyone’s account, frivolous.”
In 2004, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor presented Justice Barry with an award given by Seton Hall University School of Law to women who excel in law and public service.
Accepting the award, named after Justice O’Connor, Justice Barry said: “I tell women to remember how difficult it was for women like Justice O’Connor to get started. Although she graduated with the highest grades, she had to accept a job as a legal secretary. Remember how far we have come.”
William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.