Donald Trump is not the only member of his family who knows how to counterpunch.
Melania Trump, the wife of the Republican presidential candidate, on Thursday followed up on previously made threats and filed a libel lawsuit over a story claiming she had been an escort in the 1990s.
Trump is suing Mail Media, parent company of the British newspaper the Daily Mail, as well as a Maryland blogger named Webster Griffin Tarpley.
After the lawsuit was filed, the Daily Mail offered a retraction.
Trump is seeking $150 million in damages, according to a statement released by Charles Harder, her attorney. Harder was Hulk Hogan’s lawyer in the pro wrestler’s successful lawsuit against Gawker that netted Hogan $140 billion and bankrupted the gossip site.
“Defendants broadcast their lies to millions of people throughout the U.S. and the world — without any justification,” Harder said. “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 $150 million.”
The complaint was filed in Maryland Circuit Court. In the lawsuit, Melania Trump addresses an Aug. 19 Daily Mail article headlined “Naked photoshoots, and troubling questions about visas that won’t go away: The VERY racy past of Donald Trump’s Slovenian wife.”
The article was based upon the work of a Slovenian journalist who helped write an unauthorized biography of Melania Trump and claims by a Slovenian magazine that connected the operator of her modeling agency to an escort agency.
Trump’s lawsuit says the article was not true.
“The statements of fact in the Daily Mail Article are false. Plaintiff did legitimate and legal modeling work for legitimate business entities and did not work for any ‘gentleman’s club’ or ‘escort’ agencies. Plaintiff was not a sex worker, escort or prostitute in any way, shape or form, nor did she ever have a composite or presentation card for the sex business,” the lawsuit said.
“Plaintiff did not come to the United States until 1996. Thus, Plaintiff did not, and could not have participated in a photo shoot in the United States or met her current husband in the United States prior to that time,” the lawsuit also said.
Prior to its publication, British news organizations had been warned not to publish the allegations.
Although several news organizations have questioned Trump’s immigration status when she came to the United States, she has been clear that she never broke immigration laws.
Tarpley, who often writes about conspiracy theories, published a blog post headlined “Where Is Melania Trump.” The post included multiple allegations about her mental state and repeated the claim about her status as an escort.
Tarpley has removed the post and published a retraction.
Formal Retraction of Factual Assertions and Innunendos Regarding Melania Trumphttps://t.co/rQpun6aDkC
— MELANIA TRUMP (@MELANIATRUMP) August 23, 2016
The Daily Mail’s retraction highlighted some of the allegations made in the initial article but said the article “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.’”
The newspaper went on to defend itself.
“The point of the article was that these allegations could impact the U.S. presidential election even if they are untrue,” the retraction read.
“To the extent that anything in the Daily Mail’s article was interpreted as stating or suggesting that Mrs. Trump worked as an ‘escort’ or in the ‘sex business,’ that she had a ‘composite or presentation card for the sex business,’ or that either of the modeling agencies referenced in the article were engaged in these businesses, it is hereby retracted, and the Daily Mail newspaper regrets any such misinterpretation,” the newspaper said.
Harder told CNN that Trump would proceed with the lawsuit despite the retraction. (For more from the author of “Melania Trump Files $150 Million Libel Lawsuit Over ‘Lies’ About Her Past” please click HERE)