After the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail tabloid published a story last week that suggested Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, worked as an escort in the mid- or late-1990s, various other news outlets picked up on the self-confessed unverified story and reprinted details from it. On Monday, Melania started legal action against the publications, threatening to sue them over the innuendos.
Her lawyer, Charles J. Harder — the person responsible for winning Hulk Hogan $140 million and the shutdown of Gawker’s website — said legal action had been initiated against news outlets, and was not limited to the U.K.
In an email to Politico, Harder said: “Mrs. Trump has placed several news organizations on notice of her legal claims against them, including Daily Mail among others, for making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an ‘escort’ in the 1990s. All such statements are 100% false, highly damaging to her reputation, and personally hurtful. She understands that news media have certain leeway in a presidential campaign, but outright lying about her in this way exceeds all bounds of appropriate news reporting and human decency.”
While the Daily Mail, which published the original story, has not yet commented on the legal notice, various other publications — who printed their versions Sunday — were quick to issue an apology. Inquisitr was the first to retract the story. Bipartisan Report came next, offering a breakdown of everything they got wrong, and the right version of each of those statements.
Melania has been using her not-very-active Twitter account since the apologies started coming in to post links to them. Another apology and retraction it linked to was from Tarpley.net, a website run by author and journalist Webster Griffin Tarpley.
According to CNNMoney, other than those already mentioned, the websites put on notice by Harder are the Week, Politico, Before It’s News, Liberal America, LawNewz and Winning Democrats. However, not all notices relate to the same charges. Politico, for instance, confirmed its reporters had received notices for “false and defamatory statements” for reporting on Melania’s immigration status.