News & Politics

Trump's Sister Resigns as Judge Amid Tax Evasion Investigation Involving Her Siblings

Tycoon Donald Trump with sister Maryanne Trump Barry, on June 09, 2008. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire URN:6028677 (Press Association via AP Images)

President Donald Trump’s older sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, recently resigned from her role as a federal appellate judge. By doing so, she ended an investigation into potentially fraudulent tax schemes The New York Times reported last year. The Times report spurred an investigation into whether the tax schemes violated judicial conduct rules. The resignation means Barry is no longer subject to such rules, so the investigation is moot.

The New York Times reported Barry’s resignation on Wednesday, but the resignation took place in February. Two lawyers connected to the complaint told The Times about Barry’s resignation after they were notified that the investigation had been closed.

According to the Times report, the Trump siblings “had engaged in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the inherited wealth of Mr. Trump and his siblings. Judge Barry not only benefited financially from most of those tax schemes, The Times found; she was also in a position to influence the actions taken by her family.”

The 82-year-old retired judge has not heard cases in more than two years, but she was still listed as an inactive senior judge. In a February 1 letter, a court official notified the four people who filed the complaint that the investigation was “receiving the full attention” of a judicial conduct council. On February 11, Judge Barry filed her retirement papers.

Judicial council reviews may result in the censure or reprimand of federal judges, and perhaps even lead to a referral to the House of Representatives for impeachment. Given the House Democrats’ thirst to impeach President Donald Trump, it seems rather likely they would have pursued impeachment proceedings against Judge Barry should the judicial council have recommended them.

While Judge Barry has retired, she is still entitled to receive an annual salary equal to what she earned when she last met workload requirements. The New York Times estimated this salary to be between $184,500 and $217,600 per year.

“The Times investigation focused on how the profits and ownership of the real estate empire built by the president’s father, Fred C. Trump, were transferred to Donald J. Trump and his siblings, often in ways designed to dodge gift and estate taxes,” the Times report explained.

“The New York Times’s allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory,” Charles J. Harder, a lawyer for the president, told the paper last fall.

Yet Judge Barry’s retirement might suggest there is some truth to the claims.

PJ Media reached out to Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign manager, for comment on Judge Barry’s retirement. Parscale did not respond by press time.

Trump once mused that his sister would make a great Supreme Court justice. When the president had an opportunity to name justices to the Supreme Court, she pushed for Judge Thomas Hardiman, with whom she served as an appeals judge.

In the 2016 election, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) attacked Trump for his praise of Judge Barry, whom Cruz called a “radical pro-abortion extremist.” In 2000, Barry wrote a 40-page appeals court decision calling a New Jersey ban on late-term abortions “unconstitutionally and incurably vague,” slamming it for placing an “undue burden” on a woman’s “right” to abortion.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.