WASHINGTON - A Maryland blogger and the Daily Mail have been slapped with a lawsuit by Melania Trump.
Both have issued retractions on the articles that insinuated Trump was an escort in the 1990s. But Trump’s attorney said in an email to FOX 5 that the articles were broadcast all over the world and were extremely damaging to her professional and personal reputation.
Trump's attorneys filed the defamation of character lawsuit in Montgomery County on Friday.
On August 20, the Daily Mail, a British publication, ran an article titled "Racy photos, and troubling questions about his wife's past that could derail Trump.” It questioned when Melania Trump came to the United States, questioned her visa and cited a Slovenian magazine's allegations that she worked for a New York modeling agency that also ran an escort service for wealthy clients.
A blogger named Webster Tarpley from Gaithersburg, Maryland also published an article claiming Trump was having a mental breakdown because she feared former wealthy clients from her time as an escort would come forward.
The Daily Mail's retraction was issued Thursday – the same day the lawsuit was filed. It said they didn't call her an escort and that their article only quoted others who did. They also apologized for any misinterpretation of the article and took it down.
Tarpley's retraction on his blog was issued a week and a half ago and included an apology for failing to fact check or maintain a "healthy distance between innuendo and fact."
However on Friday, he issued this statement saying:
“Melania Trump’s lawsuit against me is without merit. Mrs. Trump is a public figure actively engaged in the Trump for president campaign. We are confident that Mrs. Trump will not be able to meet her high burden of proving the statements published about her on my website were defamatory in any way. Her lawsuit is a blatant attempt to intimidate not only me but journalists of all stripes into remaining silent with regard to public figures. This lawsuit is a direct affront to First Amendment principles and free speech in our democratic society.”
Attorney Bernie Grimm, who has been practicing law in the Washington D.C. region for 24 years, explained to us why this case would be difficult for Trump to win.
“You don’t win First Amendment cases, lawsuits against free speech – you simply don’t win,” he said. “It's very hard. She would have to demonstrate that the person who wrote it or spoke it, whether it is libel or slander, knew it was false and went ahead and printed it anyway.”
In an email, Trump's lawyer said she is suing for $150 million.