Melania Trump Settles Defamation Suit Against Daily Mail

FILE – This is a Wednesday, March 29, 2017, file photo of U.S. first lady Melania Trump smiles as she is recognized by President Donald Trump as he speaks at a women’s empowerment panel, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Melania Trump on Wednesday April 12, 2017, accepted an apology and damages from the publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper for reporting rumors about her time as a model. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

WASHINGTON (CN) – First Lady Melania Trump on Wednesday reached a settlement with the Daily Mail in a defamation suit she filed after the tabloid ran a story examining whether she worked as a prostitute before meeting President Donald Trump.

CNN reported on Wednesday that Trump will receive $2.9 million as part of the settlement.

The lawsuits, which were filed in September, went after the Daily Mail’s online edition and Webster Tarpley, a Maryland blogger who ran a story raising questions about Trump’s past on his Tarpley.net blog. The articles claimed that rather than working as a model, the first lady was actually a “high end escort,” according to the 10-page lawsuit originally filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

“We accept that these allegations about Mrs. Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them,” The Daily Mail said in a joint statement with Trump, according to the Washington Post. “We apologize to Mrs. Trump for any distress that our publication caused her. To settle Mrs. Trump’s two lawsuits against us, we have agreed to pay her damages and costs.”

Though the suits were originally filed in a state court just outside of Washington, DC, Trump eventually had to refile the case in New York, where the Daily Mail prints. The suit originally asked for $150 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Trump reached a settlement with Tarpley in February.

Trump was represented by Charles Harder, who is known as the lawyer who won Hulk Hogan’s case against Gawker after the company released a sex tape of the pro wrestler. The case ultimately resulted in Gawker filing for bankruptcy.

In a statement, Harder’s law firm, Harder Mirell, said, “The First Lady Melania Trump is very pleased that she has resolved this matter favorably with the Daily Mail, which has issued a full and complete retraction and apology for its false statements about her, and agreed to pay her millions of dollars in damages and full reimbursement of her legal fees costs.

“Mrs. Trump will remain vigilant to protect her good name and reputation from those who make false and defamatory statements about her,” the statement added.

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