JUSTICE

Melania Trump’s ‘Once-In-A-Lifetime’ Opportunity Is No More

The First Lady's lawsuit against the Daily Mail no longer mentions how she could potentially profit off of her husband's new job

JUSTICE
AFP/Getty Images
Feb 23, 2017 at 1:58 PM ET

America’s satellite First Lady Melania Trump’s defamation lawsuit against the Daily Mail got a new look: An amended complaint removed a controversial statement suggesting that she was looking forward to profiting big league off her status.

Trump is suing the Daily Mail’s American arm, Mail Online, for $150 million over an article that alleged she was a prostitute in the 1990s based on claims made in an unauthorized biography and an article in an “obscure Slovenian tabloid.” Despite Trump’s denials of the allegations and, the suit says, several witnesses who could have debunked the story, the Mail published it anyway.

When listing how her brand had been damaged by the Mail’s story, the suit mentioned Trump’s “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person … to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multi-million dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which Plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.” This was taken by many to indicate that Trump was at least entertaining the idea of profiting off of her husband’s new job and the new fame that she, as his wife, would gain through it. Considering the many allegations (some of which are not unfounded) leveled against her husband and his extended family that they are also using his presidency to enrich themselves, the wording of Trump’s lawsuit certainly was … interesting. It did not go unnoticed.

But no more! In a new version of the complaint filed last Friday, the “once-in-a-lifetime” bit has disappeared. Instead, the suit simply refers to “prospective economic opportunities.” In fact, the new suit seems to go out of its way to avoid mentioning Trump’s new title altogether: a line about how the article “impugned [Trump’s] fitness to perform her duties as First Lady of the United States” has also been replaced with “impugned her fitness to perform personal and professional duties.”

The amended complaint also added the fact that Wikipedia recently banned the Daily Mail as a source for its articles and that a New York Times reporter was recently overheard saying “Melania is a hooker” as evidence that the tabloid was known to play fast and loose with the truth and that what it published about Trump was widely read and believed, even by employees of the failing New York Times. The suit eschewed Donald Trump’s  preferred description of the newspaper for a blander but more appropriate “major news organization.”

The amount Trump is suing for has stayed the same: at least $150 million.

The Mail retracted the article last September after Trump initially sued it, saying that it never intended to suggest that any of the allegations it reported were made by other sources were true and “regrets any such misinterpretation.” That, clearly, was not enough to stop the lawsuit, which made no mention of the Mail’s efforts to smooth things over.