British newspaper to pay millions in damages for defaming Melania Trump

A popular British tabloid has agreed to pay First Lady Melania Trump an undisclosed amount of money after publishing unfounded rumors about her past. The Daily Mail published a story in August 2016 that claimed Mrs. Trump worked as an escort in her early days as a fashion model in New York.

The article also implied that Mrs. Trump had a nervous breakdown after her partially plagiarized speech at the Republican National Convention in July. In addition to the text, the publication ran accompanying nude pictures of the Slovenia native, all under the headline, “Racy photos and troubling questions about his wife’s past that could derail Trump.”

Although the monetary settlement was kept confidential, anonymous sources with knowledge of the proceedings said the Daily Mail agreed to pay damages of under $3 million. The paper’s publisher, Associated Papers, released a statement apologizing for The Daily Mail‘s decision to run the story.

“An article on 20th August 2016 about Melania Trump . . . questioned the nature of her work as a professional model, and republished allegations that she provided services beyond simply modeling,” the statement read.

“We accept that these allegations about Mrs Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them. . . . We have agreed to pay her damages and costs.”

The Trump family is well-known for their litigious actions, and Mrs. Trump is no different. The First Lady also settled a lawsuit against a blogger who published a similar themed story falsely detailing her history as a well-paid prostitute. Mrs. Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder, issued a warning against those trying to smear his client’s reputation.

“Mrs. Trump will remain vigilant to protect her good name and reputation from those who make false and defamatory statements about her,” Harder said.

Although the First Lady has chosen to remain out of the public eye during her husband’s first few months as president, these lawsuits indicate that preserving her reputation and brand remain important to her.


[Washington Post] [Reuters] [Photo courtesy AP via Vanity Fair]