Melania Trump settles defamation case for ‘substantial sum’

Blogger extends apology over explosive ‘false statements’ that proved ‘harmful and hurtful’

Melania Trump: Settled her case against a Maryland blogger who wrote about unsubstantiated rumours. Photograph: Reuters

Melania Trump: Settled her case against a Maryland blogger who wrote about unsubstantiated rumours. Photograph: Reuters

 

First lady Melania Trump has settled a defamation lawsuit against a Maryland blogger who wrote about unsubstantiated rumours she had worked as an escort and falsely said she suffered a breakdown, her lawyer said on Tuesday.

“I acknowledge that these false statements were very harmful and hurtful to Mrs Trump and her family, and therefore I sincerely apologise to Mrs Trump, her son, her husband and her parents for making these false statements,” wrote blogger Webster Tarpley in a statement released by Mrs Trump’s lawyer.

A lawyer for Mr Tarpley confirmed the accuracy of the statement and said the case had been resolved. Neither side would divulge the amount of the settlement, though her lawyer Charles Harder called it a “substantial sum”.

Mrs Trump filed the lawsuit last year against Mr Tarpley and the Daily Mail after the newspaper published an article that alleged falsely she had worked for an escort service.

The article cited a Slovenian magazine’s report that a modelling agency with which Trump worked in New York in the 1990s also served as an escort business.

Daily Mail retraction

The Daily Mail published a retraction and apology after the lawsuit was filed, saying it had not intended to state or suggest that Mrs Trump had worked as an escort.

Last week, a Maryland judge dismissed the claims against the Daily Mail on jurisdictional grounds while allowing the lawsuit to continue against Mr Tarpley.

The settlement ends that case.

On Monday, Mrs Trump filed a new $150 million (€140 million) lawsuit against Mail Media, the Daily Mail’s owner, in New York state court, claiming the article had cost her millions of dollars in potential business.

Mrs Trump had a “unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to launch numerous product lines, including jewellery, apparel, shoes and cosmetics at a time when she is “one of the most photographed women in the world”, according to the fresh lawsuit.

Mr Harder has represented several celebrities and won a $140 million invasion of privacy verdict for wrestler Hulk Hogan against the now-defunct Gawker last year.

Mrs Trump, a native of Slovenia, moved to the United States in the 1990s and in 2005 married Donald Trump.