Trump's Judge Sister Retires Amid Ethics Probe

Inquiry was launched after 'New York Times' story on Trump family's inheritance taxes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 11, 2019 4:15 PM CDT
Trump's Judge Sister Retires Amid Ethics Probe
In this Nov. 9, 2016 file photo, federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry, sister of Donald Trump, sits in the balcony during Trump's election night rally in New York.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

President Trump's sister has retired as a federal appellate judge in Philadelphia, ending a civil misconduct inquiry launched after a report that she participated in Trump family schemes to dodge taxes. The retirement of Maryanne Trump Barry was revealed in an April 1 order signed by a top court official in New York, where the misconduct case was assigned to prevent conflicts of interest for judges who knew Barry. A judicial panel began the review in response to four citizen complaints filed in October after the New York Times published a story alleging the president and his siblings evaded inheritance taxes. The April 1 order said Barry's voluntary retirement ends the review stemming from claims based on the news article alleging that Barry may have committed misconduct relating to tax and financial transactions that occurred mostly in the 1980s and 1990s.

Barry, 82, was not identified by name in the order, but the facts matched her circumstances. The order said the complaint process was meant to correct conditions interfering with the "effective and expeditious" administration of court business. It said the resignation meant that Barry can no longer perform any judicial duties and thus can no longer be investigated. The 15,000-word Times report last year said that Trump's father, Fred, transferred ownership of most of his real estate empire to his four living children before he died in the late 1990s, and that that the value of the properties was vastly understated when they were reported as $41.4 million. It said the properties were later sold over the next decade for over 16 times that amount. The Times reported Trump's parents transferred over $1 billion to their children, which should have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million, but that the children paid only about $52.2 million. (Barry got a threatening letter during the 2016 campaign.)

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