Maryanne Trump Barry, the older sister of former President Donald J. Trump, has passed away at the age of 86. She served as both a protector and critic of her brother throughout their lives. The cause of her death has not been disclosed. Maryanne Trump Barry was a retired federal judge in New Jersey, having been appointed to the District Court by President Reagan in 1983 and to the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit by President Clinton in 1993. She retired in 2019 after an investigation into the Trump family's tax practices by The New York Times.
Maryanne Trump Barry's relationship with her brother deteriorated during the final year of his presidency when their niece, Mary L. Trump, released audio recordings of her aunt speaking critically about the president. In the recordings, Judge Barry expressed frustration with her brother's tweets, lying, lack of preparation, and cruelty, stating that "Donald is cruel" and "you can't trust him."
Judge Barry's retirement mooted the court investigation into the Trump family's tax schemes since retired judges are not subject to judicial conduct rules. She had been listed as an inactive-senior judge for two years prior to her retirement. The investigation had revealed that Judge Barry not only financially benefited from the tax schemes but also had the ability to influence her family's actions.
Maryanne Trump Barry was known for being a tough judge. She rejected a plea bargain that would have freed two detectives accused of protecting a drug dealer and ruled in favor of a Gambian refugee, criticizing a magistrate who had questioned his asylum application. In 2000, she wrote the majority opinion in an appeals court decision striking down a New Jersey ban on late-term abortions.
In her personal life, Maryanne Trump Barry was the widow of John J. Barry, a veteran trial and appellate lawyer in New Jersey. She had two immediate survivors: her brother Donald J. Trump and her younger sister Elizabeth Trump Grau.
Judge Barry's passing marks another personal loss for the former president, who has recently experienced the deaths of his younger brother Robert and his first wife Ivana. Maryanne Trump Barry's legacy as a federal judge and her complex relationship with her brother will be remembered.