The publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper apologized Wednesday to U.S. first lady Melania Trump and agreed to pay her about $2.9 million in connection with a 2016 article that repeated false allegations a modeling agency she worked for operated as an escort agency.
Trump filed a defamation lawsuit in February seeking $150 million in damages for harm done to her business interests and emotional distress. The suit said the article harmed her ability to earn millions of dollars during a time when she would be "one of the most photographed women in the world."
The article discussed allegations that first appeared in a book and a Slovenian magazine, which Trump's lawyers said falsely portrayed her as a prostitute. The lawsuit said the Daily Mail published the piece either knowing the allegations were false or "with reckless disregard for the truth."
"We accept that these allegations about Mrs. Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them," the Daily Mail said in a statement Wednesday. "We apologize to Mrs. Trump for any distress that our publication caused her."
The Daily Mail had already posted a statement in September, a month after the article was published, saying "there was no support" for the allegation in the book and magazine and that the aim of the article was to examine how the claims could impact the U.S. presidential election even if untrue.
Trump's husband, U.S. President Donald Trump, was by that point already deep into his campaign against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom he defeated in the November election.