Maryanne Trump Barry, a former federal judge who was Donald J. Trump’s older sister and who served as both his protector and critic throughout his life, has died. She was 86 years old.
She died at her 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 spokesperson for Mr. Trump did not respond to a request for comment.
Judge Barry served on the federal bench in New Jersey, a position that Mr. Trump’s lawyer Roy M. Cohnwas credited with helping her achieve her goal during President Ronald Reagan’s tenure in the 1980s. She retired in 2019 after she became the subject of a legal investigation stemming from a New York Times investigation into the Trump family’s tax practices.
Mr. Trump seemed to pay as much attention to the words of few people as to those of his older sister, according to his confidants. But their relationship experienced a significant crack during the final year of his presidency, when their niece Mary L. Trump, who was promoting a memoir about their family, released recordings of his aunt speaking harshly about the president.
A Republican, Judge Barry was appointed to the New Jersey District Court 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. Barrya seasoned New Jersey trial and appellate attorney.
She resigned from office after the Times discovered that the Trumps had engaged in questionable tax schemes during the 1990s to increase the wealth inherited from Mr. Trump and his siblings. Judge Barry not only benefited financially from most of these schemes, according to the Times; she was also able to influence the actions taken by her family.
At the time, she had been listed as an inactive senior judge for two years. His retirement was the subject of a judicial investigation, since retired judges are not subject to the rules of judicial conduct.
Judge Barry’s scathing remarks 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 in the world. (2020). The audio tapes, made available to The Washington Postincluded criticism that went beyond the other caustic comments contained in Ms. Trump’s book.
“His damn tweet and his lies – oh, my God,” Judge Barry said in one of the recordings. “I speak too freely, but, you know. The change of stories. Lack of preparation. The lie.
At another point, she said, “All he wants to do is appeal to his base.” He has no principles. None.” She added: “It’s the falsity and this cruelty. Donald is cruel. ‘You can’t trust him,’ she said.
In 2020, Mary Trump filed a lawsuit accusing the president and his siblings of defrauding her out of her inheritance. She said that for the Trumps, “fraud wasn’t just a family affair – it was a way of life.”
The White House responded that Ms. Trump’s allegations were self-serving.
Mr. Trump, 77, who is the favorite for the Republican presidential nomination even though he faces dozens of criminal charges in four cases, has suffered a number of 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, who died last year. Another brother, Fred Jr., died in 1981 at age 43. Judge Barry was the eldest of the Trump siblings.
Maryanne Elizabeth Trump, granddaughter of German immigrants, was born April 5, 1937, in New York to Fred and Mary (McLeod) Trump. His father, a real estate mogul and source of the family wealth, developed thousands of apartments in Brooklyn and Queens. His 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.
She attended private school Kew-Forest in Queens and received a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts in 1958. She received 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 review. She graduated in 1974 and went to work for the government, becoming an assistant federal prosecutor in New Jersey. She served as First Assistant United States Attorney from 1981 to 1983, placing her, at the time, among the highest-ranking women in a federal prosecutor’s office.
Her marriage to David Desmond in 1960 ended in divorce in 1980. She married Mr Barry in 1982. He died in 2000.
Besides 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 bargain 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 castigated the magistrate who had questioned his request for asylum. The magistrate was subsequently dismissed from office.
In 2000, Justice Barry wrote the majority opinion in an appeals court decision overturning New Jersey’s ban on late-term abortions, saying it was vaguely worded and imposed an undue burden on constitutional law of a woman’s privacy in medical decision-making.
As harsh as she was on the bench, Judge Barry suggested that women lighten up a little on the issue of sexual harassment.
“I have no equal in condemning sexual harassment of women. » she said the Interagency Committee on Women in Law Enforcement in 1992. “But what happens is that every sexy joke from long ago, every flirtation, is remembered by some women and revised and reevaluated as sexual harassment. Many of these accusations are, by all accounts, frivolous.”
In 2004, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor presented Justice Barry with an award given by Seton Hall University Law School to women who excel in law and public service.
Accepting the award, named in Justice O’Connor’s honor, Justice Barry said: “I tell women to remember how difficult it was for women like Justice O’Connor to get started. Even though she got top grades, she had to take a job as a legal secretary. Remember how far we have come.
William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.