US POLITICS

Melania Trump Settles Her Daily Mail ‘Escort’ Suit

The First Lady reportedly received far less than the $150 million she was asking for.

US POLITICS
REUTERS
Apr 12, 2017 at 10:32 AM ET

First Lady and New York City resident Melania Trump has settled her lawsuit against the Daily Mail over its article claiming she was a prostitute in the 1990s and met her husband three years before she and the president claimed.

While the amount Trump demanded was $150 million, Reuters reported that she agreed to a much lower amount of about $3 million, which included legal fees.

Daily Mail also ran a special apology to Trump on Wednesday, which said that the tabloid merely “republished allegations,” and included denials of those allegations and said there was no evidence to prove the allegations in the first place. Normally, this is enough to protect publications from losing libel lawsuits, but it doesn’t prevent them from having to spend the money to defend themselves from those lawsuits in the first place. And being sued by a woman with seemingly infinite financial resources and the power of the presidency of the United States behind her may have convinced the Daily Mail that it was better off just giving up.

The original article was published last August. The Mail retracted it less than two weeks later after it was contacted by Trump’s lawyers, which included Charles Harder, who was fresh off his success defeating Gawker in its lawsuit against Hulk Hogan.

Trump’s lawsuit, filed last February, notably included wording about how the Mail’s article damaged her brand, which, now that her husband was president, included a “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 made headlines, as it appeared as though Trump was planning to use her new First Lady status to make millions of dollars for herself. Though Trump’s husband and his children have repeatedly denied that his presidency will be used as a money-making venture, there have been multiple instances that have brought that into question, including the doubling of fees for Trump’s favorite weekend home (the “Winter White House,” as he has taken to calling it) Mar-a-Lago from $100,000 to $200,000; Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway’s Fox News appearance where she promoted Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories line; the influx of guests at Trump’s Washington D.C. hotel; and the expansion of Trump’s business — now purportedly run by his sons completely independently of their father, who nevertheless continues to profit off of it — in several foreign countries.

Trump amended the lawsuit two weeks later to remove the language about profiting off of her new position as well as any mentions that she is the First Lady. Instead, it mentioned “prospective economic opportunities” and unspecified “personal and professional duties.”

The First Lady also sued a 71-year-old blogger who posted a similar article with allegations about Trump’s past; that was settled last February for an undisclosed amount that her attorneys claimed was a “substantial sum.”