Who is Maryanne Trump Barry?
Maryanne Trump Barry is an accomplished American attorney and a retired United States federal judge. She is the eldest sister of the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump. She served as an Assistant United States Attorney for almost a decade before being appointed as Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey by the then US President Ronald Reagan in 1983. Thereafter, in September 1999, President Bill Clinton appointed her as Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She testified in support of nomination of fellow Third Circuit Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court in 2006. She became Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in June 2011. It was alleged that she participated in fraudulent tax schemes with her siblings and thus violated judicial conduct rules leading to an investigation. Her subsequent retirement from active service in February 2019 however led to an end of the investigation before a conclusion on the allegations could be reached. Maryanne also drew attention after her niece Mary publicly released transcripts and audio excerpts where Maryanne spoke critically about Donald Trump.
Childhood & Early Life
Maryanne Trump was born on April 5, 1937, in Queens in New York City, US, as the eldest child of Frederick Christ Trump Sr. and Mary Anne MacLeod Trump. Her father was a leading American real estate developer in New York City and her mother was a Scottish-American philanthropist. Her siblings include Fred Jr., Elizabeth, Donald, and Robert.
Maryanne studied at the Kew-Forest School and then attended Mount Holyoke College from where she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1958. In 1962, she earned a Master of Arts degree in public law and government from Columbia University. In 1974, she obtained her Juris Doctor from Hofstra University School of Law.
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Following her first marriage, Maryanne remained a homemaker for thirteen years, before becoming an Assistant United States Attorney in 1974. At that time, she was one of two women among the 62 lawyers who were serving in the office of the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey. During her tenure there, from 1974 to 1975, she served the civil division, and from 1976 to 1982 she served the appeals division. From 1976 to 1977, she served as deputy chief of the appeals division and from 1977 to 1982 she remained the chief of the division. From 1981 to 1982, she held position as Executive Assistant United States Attorney and served as First Assistant United States Attorney from 1981 to 1983.
On September 14, 1983, the then US President Ronald Reagan nominated her to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey after Henry Curtis Meanor vacated it on February 7 that year. The United States Senate confirmed her on October 6, 1983, and she received her commission on the following day.
She recused herself from a drug-trafficking case in 1985 as the accused trafficker reportedly had a relationship with her brother Donald. Maryanne Trump Barry was known to be a tough judge on the bench and had a strong command of her courtroom.
As a district court judge in Newark, New Jersey, she disapproved a plea bargain in 1989 and forced the case to trial that saw two county detectives, accused of protecting a drug dealer, being convicted and given jail terms. In the case of the Genovese crime family mobster Louis Manna, who was accused of plotting to assassinate rival mobster John Gotti, Maryanne presided over the conviction of Manna.
Maryanne Trump Barry, a Republican, served as Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey till October 25, 1999, as on June 17 that year she was nominated by Democratic President Bill Clinton to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit filling the vacancy created after H. Lee Sarokin’s retirement in 1996. On September 13, 1999, the Senate unanimously confirmed Maryanne who received her commission on September 22 that year.
Maryanne Trump Barry testified in support of appointing Samuel Alito, a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, to the Supreme Court in January 2006. The same year, she strongly criticised conduct of Judge Donald Ferlise, an U.S. Immigration Court judge, in association with the Abou Cham v. Attorney General case that dealt with a refugee petitioner called Abou Cham from The Gambia. Cham was the nephew of the first President of the Gambia Dawda Jawara, who was deposed during the 1994 Gambian coup d'état. Several of Champ’s relatives were imprisoned or killed and their political party was outlawed by the new regime. Maryanne censured questioning of Judge Ferlise as abusive, bullying and belligerent towards Champ and ruled in the latter’s favour. The decision of Maryanne was followed by relieve of Judge Ferlise of his duties.
She became Senior Judge on June 30, 2011. Her brother, Donald Trump became President of the US on January 20, 2017, and in first week of February that year, Maryanne took inactive senior status.
An investigative report published by The New York Times in October 2018 asserted involvement of Maryanne, her father Fred and her siblings including Donald trump in fraudulent and illegal activity so as to limit estate tax and gift tax liability linked with Fred’s real estate enterprises. Following publication of the investigative report, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance started a review of such fraud allegations made against Maryanne and her siblings.
In October 2018, four legal professionals filed complaints against Maryanne Trump Barry and on February 1, 2019, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit notified them that an investigation on judicial misconduct of Maryanne with regard to alleged participation of the latter in fraudulent tax and financial transactions had been launched. Ten days later, on February 11, 2019, Maryanne fully retired from the federal bench thus effectively ending the investigation of whether she was involved with her siblings in fraudulent tax schemes which violated judicial conduct rules. The investigation ended before a conclusion on the allegations could be reached.
Recordings of Maryanne Criticising Donald Trump
Although Maryanne spoke little about Donald Trump publicly during the latter’s presidency, her niece Mary Lea Trump, Fred Jr.’s daughter, disclosed in August 2020 that she had covertly audio-recorded 15 hours of her face-to-face discussions with Maryanne in 2018 and 2019.
Mary made public several transcripts and audio excerpts of the discussions which were inclusive of those which did not appear earlier in her July 2020 published book titled ‘Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man’. Maryanne sharply criticised Donald Trump in those conversations and said that he is cruel and has no principles. She mentioned that he had someone take the college entrance exam on his behalf. She also expressed her disapproval of the family separation policy of Trump administration and earlier bankruptcies of his businesses and said that "You can’t trust him."
The recordings were first reported on by The Washington Post, however the president was dismissive of such recordings.
Family & Personal Life
Maryanne was married to David Desmond from 1960 to 1980. Their son, David William Desmond, became a New York psychologist.
She married New Jersey lawyer John Joseph Barry in 1982. John died on April 9, 2000.
She gave $4 million to the private Jesuit university, Fairfield University, Connecticut in 2016, for funding scholarships and endow the Center for Ignatian Spirituality of the university.