Lawyers for Melania Trump on Thursday filed suit for $150m damages against the Daily Mailin Maryland state court. The wife of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is also suing a blogger, Webster Tarpley, from the state in question.
In a statement, Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder, said: “These defendants made several statements about Mrs Trump that are 100% false and tremendously damaging to her personal and professional reputation [and] broadcast their lies to millions of people throughout the US and the world – without any justification.
“Their many lies include, among others, that Mrs Trump supposedly was an ‘escort’ in the 1990s before she met her husband. Defendants’ actions are so egregious, malicious and harmful to Mrs Trump that her damages are estimated at $150m.”
The suit was filed in Montgomery County, in suburban Washington DC, in response to articles published in August by the Daily Mailwhich reported rumors that Trump worked as an escort in the 1990s.
Last month, announcing that Trump was considering a suit, her lawyer called those rumors “100% false”.
The Daily Mailarticle also contained allegations that Trump came to New York a year earlier than she has claimed, raising issues about her immigration status. Trump denied a story in Politicoin which questions about her immigration status were first reported.
The lawsuit noted that while the article in question had been removed from the Daily Mail’s website, the newspaper had yet to apologize or formally retract. The Mail included a retraction of the story in its Friday UK print edition.
“We did not intend to state or suggest that these allegations are true,” the newspaper said, “nor did we intend to state or suggest that Mrs Trump ever worked as an ‘escort’ or in the ‘sex business’.” It added that its article had included denials from a Trump spokesperson and the owner of the modelling agency in question, and said it regretted “any such misinterpretation”.
The retraction was also posted online. “The Daily Mailnewspaper and MailOnline/DailyMail.com have entirely separate editors and journalistic teams,” it added. “In so far as MailOnline/DailyMail.com published the same article it wholeheartedly also retracts the above and also regrets any such misinterpretation.”
Asked if the retraction would affect the suit, Harder replied: “It does not.”
Tarpley’s blogpost, which has been retracted, claimed, per the suit, that “it is widely known Melania was not a working model but rather a high-end escort” and that she had a “mental breakdown” after a plagiarism controversy over her speech to the Republican national convention in Cleveland in July.