Following a lawsuit accusing the Daily Mail Online and a Maryland blogger of falsely associating Melania Trump with an escort agency during her modeling career, the newspaper, and its website issued a retraction of its story about the aspiring first lady. The former model’s lawyer filed the lawsuit Thursday in state court in Montgomery County, Maryland. The document seeks at least $75,000 from each defendant.
Charles Harder, Mrs. Trump’s lawyer, is the same who successfully represented Hulk Hogan in his defamation suit against Gawker, a website that no longer operates. Harder is yet to comment about the Daily Mail retraction on its article published Aug. 20.
Mrs. Trump sued the newspaper and the Maryland blogger over articles that allegedly suggest that she was a sex worker in the 1990s when she still lived in her home country Slovenia. She has taken on social media to hit back.
The Daily Mail published its retraction on page 14 of its tabloid and its website. The newspaper states it regrets any “misinterpretation” of its article about her, which was intended only to raise questions about whether accusations about her past as a top model could have an adverse impact on her husband’s campaign for president of the United States.
The retraction reads that the Aug. 20 article noted that there have been some allegations made in a book available on Amazon about Mrs. Trump being involved with a modeling agency in Milan that served as a “gentleman’s club.” The Daily Mail also said it had mentioned an article published by a Slovenian magazine called Suzy, which allegedly stated that Mrs. Trump’s modeling agency run by Paolo Zampolli in New York served “as an escort agency for wealthy clients.”
The British newspaper claimed it had no intentions to suggest the aspiring first lady had been involved in the sex business.
“To the contrary, The Daily Mail newspaper article stated that there was no support for the allegations, and it provided adamant denials from Mrs. Trump’s spokesperson and Mr. Zampolli,” the newspaper said.
Maryland blogger’s retraction and the blog post that followed
Webster Griffin Tarpley, the Maryland blogger, also retracted his blog post published on Aug. 2. This filing says that Trump’s attorneys spoke with Tarpley on Aug. 21 and demanded a retraction, which he issued along with an apology a day later, according to a report by The Washington Post.
However, he claimed the statements published about Mrs. Trump on his website were not defamatory “in any way” and accused her of filing a lawsuit without merit.
“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,” Tarpley wrote.
As for the Slovenian magazine Suzy, its publisher Slovenske Novice newspaper said on its website that it never released allegations about Melania Trump offering sexual escort services.
Pirc Musar, who owns the law firm named after him in Slovenia, told The Associated Press that the tabloid magazine Suzy had published “completely untrue” claims about her past as a model.
“Our client will not allow (herself) to be publicly humiliated, described as a woman who became a top model, not due to hard work but by offering escort services,” Pirc Musar said, according to a report by The New York Times.
This story marks the second scandal in which Melania Trump has been involved in less than two months. An active supporter of Donald Trump’s candidacy, she did not go well at the Republican convention. Her speech was immersed in a plagiarism shadow because her words were remarkably similar to those said by Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic Convention.
Source: The New York Times