Melania Trump has filed a legal action against the Daily Mail and other outlets over a defamatory story accusing her of previously being an escort, and has hired Hulk Hogan’s lawyer who famously took down Gawker.
The article in question was originally published by the Daily Mail and contained allegations that Trump was an escort in the 1990’s and questions the legitimacy of her entire modeling career. The problem for the Daily Mail – the story was based entirely on speculation and heresay without any actual evidence.
The outlets that received the notice include The Daily Mail, The Week, Politico, Inquisitr, Tarpley, Bipartisan Report and Before It’s News. Democratic Party support blogs Liberal America and Winning Democrats were also among the recipients.
Until a lawsuit is filed, the notices serve as warnings to the recipients to remove, retract, or correct their stories.
“Aside from the facts not being 100 percent accurate, we deeply regret reporting on a story of such a ‘low brow’ nature. Melania Trump is a private citizen and deserves the privacy and respect that any one of us would want and expect. We sincerely apologize to her for stooping to such a level and will not do so again in the future,” Bipartisan Report wrote in an apology post.
Trump is now being represented by Charles Harder, the attorney who represented Hogan in his successful lawsuit against Gawker over publication of a sex tape featuring the wrestler. In an email to Politico, Harder informed them that the action is not limited to the Daily Mail, or even the United Kingdom where the newspaper is based.
“Mrs. Trump has placed several news organizations on notice of her legal claims against them, including Daily Mail among others, for making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an “escort” in the 1990s,” Harder said in the email. “All such statements are 100% false, highly damaging to her reputation, and personally hurtful. She understands that news media have certain leeway in a presidential campaign, but outright lying about her in this way exceeds all bounds of appropriate news reporting and human decency.”
Out of all the outlets that were put on notice, the Daily Mail — who happen to be the originators of the rumors — will have the biggest legal burden due to being located in the United Kingdom. In the U.S., libel laws put the burden on Trump to prove that the allegations are false, whereas in the U.K. the burden will be on the Daily Mail to prove that they are true.
Neither Politico or the Daily Mail have commented on the notices.