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Melania Trump files law suit on Daily Mail for $150m over statement about her past

Melania Trump / AFP PHOTO / KENA BETANCUR

Melania Trump / AFP PHOTO / KENA BETANCUR

Melania Trump on Thursday has filed a lawsuit for $150m damages against the Daily Mail in Maryland state court. The wife of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has also sued 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.

“Some of the statements include, that Mrs. Trump supposedly was an ‘escort’ in the 1990s before she met her husband Donald Trump. Defendants’ actions are so egregious, malicious and harmful to Mrs. Trump that her damages are estimated at $150m.” blogger, Webster The suit was filed in Montgomery County, in suburban Washington DC, in response to articles published in August by the Daily Mail which reported that Trump worked as an escort in the 1990s but her lawyer called those rumors “100% false”.

The Daily Mail article also contained issues that Trump came to New York a year earlier than she has claimed, raising issues about her immigration status. Trump denied a story in Politico in which questions about her immigration status were first reported. Tarpley, from the state in question, 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.

It said, “We did not intend to state or suggest that these allegations are true,” “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 modeling agency in question, and said it regretted “any such misinterpretation”.

The retraction was also posted online. “The Daily Mail newspaper 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. Tarpley’s blog post, which has been retracted, claimed, per the suit, that “it is widely known Melania was not a working model but rather a high-end escort” and that she had a “mental breakdown” after a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.

Harder is best known for representing Hulk Hogan in the lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker Media and forced its sale to Univision last month. The Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, a vocal Trump supporter, funded that suit.

Steve Klepper, an appellate lawyer for the Baltimore law firm Kramon & Graham, said the inclusion of a blogger in the suit indicated legal maneuvering.

Klepper pointed to a Maryland defamation statute that might provide a basis for Melania Trump’s suit. It reads: “A single or married woman whose character or reputation for chastity is defamed by any person may maintain an action against that person.” He, however, added that: “Montgomery County has possibly the highest-percentage college education jury pool in the whole country and I cannot see how the jury pool would be good for [Melania Trump].”

News of the lawsuit came 68 days before the election, on the day Donald Trump pledged to promote “patriotism” in schools and a day after he gave a hardline immigration policy speech, hours after striking conciliatory notes on the topic in a meeting with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto.

The Republican nominee, who has consistently trailed Hillary Clinton in the polls, has developed a combative relationship with the media, blacklisting a number of news outlets and pledging to pass stricter libel laws if elected.

A Trump campaign spokesperson said: “We do not have anything in addition to the Harder statement.”



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