First Lady Melania Trump has re-filed a defamation suit against Mail Media for publishing allegations that she once worked as a prostitute

By Tierney McAfee
February 07, 2017 04:59 PM
Brooks Kraft/ Getty

A new filing in Melania Trump‘s libel lawsuit against the Daily Mail casts her role as first lady as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity … [for] multi-million dollar business relationships.”

President Donald Trump‘s wife on Monday re-filed a defamation suit against Mail Media, the owner of the Daily Mail, for publishing allegations last August that she once worked as a prostitute. In the lawsuit filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court, Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder, argues for the first time that the article damaged the first lady’s “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to make millions by launching a “broad-based commercial brand.”

The filing, which asks for compensatory and punitive damages of at least $150 million, reads: “Mail Online’s [the Daily Mail‘s website] conduct was extreme and outrageous in falsely making the scurrilous charge that the future First Lady of the United States worked as a prostitute. Plaintiff had the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person … to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multi-million dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.”

“These product categories would have included, among other things, apparel, accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care, skin care and fragrance,” the filing continues. “The [statements] also constitute defamation per se because they impugned on her fitness to perform her duties as First Lady of the United States.”

According to CNN, Harder and a White House spokeswoman issued identical statements denying that Trump intends to profit during her tenure as first lady. “The first lady has no intention of using her position for profit and will not do so,” said Harder, whose firm, Harder Mirell & Abrams, is representing the first lady. “Any statements to the contrary are being misinterpreted.”

Trump previously filed a similar lawsuit against Mail Media and a blogger in Maryland, but that suit was dismissed by a judge,  The Washington Post reported.

According to the Post, the law firm representing Trump said in a statement Tuesday that she had settled with the Maryland blogger, Webster Tarpley, who agreed to apologize and pay her an undisclosed “substantial sum.”

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The Daily Mail has since retracted the story in question, which cited a Slovenian magazine’s report that a modelling agency Trump worked with in New York in the 1990s also served as an escort business offering sexual services.

The Daily Mail said in a retraction statement at the time that it “did not intend to state or suggest that these allegations are true, nor did it intend to state or suggest that Mrs. Trump ever worked as an ‘escort’ or in the ‘sex business.’ ”

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