U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, is suing the Daily Mail Online over stories it published claiming she worked as an escort in New York in the 1990s.
Trump’s lawyers filed suit against Mail Media, Inc., the parent company of the Daily Mail, in a Maryland court Thursday seeking to collect $150 million in damages for what they called “tremendously damaging” statements made by the website.
“Their many lies include, among others, that Mrs. Trump supposedly was an ‘escort’ in the 1990s before she met her husband. Defendants’ actions are so egregious, malicious and harmful to Mrs. Trump that her damages are estimated at $150m,” Charles Harder, Trump’s lawyer said in a statement.
The suit was filed after the Daily Mail issued a retraction of the story it published on August 20 with a headline that read: "Naked photoshoots, and troubling questions about visas that won't go away: The VERY racy past of Donald Trump's Slovenian wife."
In its retraction, the Daily Mail said it never intended to “suggest that Mrs. Trump ever worked as an ‘escort’ or in the ‘sex business.’” Instead, it said, “The point of the article was that these allegations could impact the U.S. presidential election even if they are untrue.”
Also named in the suit is blogger Webster Tarpley, who posted an article on his website, Tarpley.net, calling Trump a “high-end escort.”
The suit seeks a minimum of $75,000 from each defendant.
Harder recently represented Hulk Hogan in a similar, successful lawsuit against the now-defunct website Gawker after it posted a video of Hogan having sex with his friend’s wife, and refused to take it down.
A judge in that case awarded Hogan $140 million in damages, which forced Gawker to close its doors and sell off its assets after it filed for bankruptcy.