Melania Trump's lawyers alleged in a lawsuit filed Monday that the First Lady's "unique once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity to profit from her White House role was damaged by a Daily Mail article claiming she once worked as an escort.
The suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court against the tabloid's owner, Mail Media, seeks compensatory and punitive damages of at least $150 million."Plaintiff had the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person, as well as a former professional model and brand spokesperson, and a successful businesswoman, 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 lawsuit alleges that Trump's reputation was undermined at a particularly opportune moment by the Mail article, which published unsubstantiated allegations from a Slovenian magazine that the First Lady had worked for an escort service. That article was eventually retracted.
The First Lady's lawyer, Charles Harder, announced on Tuesday that she had agreed to settle for a "substantial sum" with a Maryland blogger who also published a post about the escort allegations. In a statement provided to TPM by Harder's office, blogger Webster Tarpley said his story was "replete with false and defamatory statements" that he "fully" retracted.
Harder has been retained by many high-profile clients, includuing disgraced Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. Last year, Trump ally Peter Thiel paid Harder to represent former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, in an invasion-of-privacy suit against Gawker Media. The suit resulted in the media company's bankruptcy.
World's smallest violin plays for non-former-escort Melania Trump.