GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s wife Melania is threatening to sue the British newspaper the Daily Mail, as well as a number of other publications, for defamation. They published stories suggesting that the modeling agency she worked for in the 1990s was also an escort service, according to Politico.
The stories were based on an article originally published in a Slovenian gossip magazine, Suzy.
According to CNN, in addition to the Daily Mail, Trump’s lawyer Charles Harder has sent emails demanding retractions from Politico, The Week, Inquisitr, Tarpley, Before It’s News, Liberal America, LawNewz, Winning Democrats and Bipartisan Report. Subsequently, Inquisitr and Bipartisan Report retracted their stories and apologized for repeating the rumors about her.
Harder is the same attorney who recently represented Terry Gene Bollea, aka the professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, in his lawsuit against Gawker Media. He claimed his privacy was violated when Gawker published part of a sex tape he claims was made without his knowledge. Bollea’s successful civil suit ended with a jury awarding him $140 million in damages, forcing the company to declare bankruptcy. It was subsequently acquired by Univision.
Bollea’s lawsuit was funded by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who was also a headline speaker at the Republican National Convention, where Trump accepted the GOP nomination.
In an email to Politico, Harder asserted that the reports about Melania Trump supposedly working as an escort are “false and defamatory.” He stated: “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.”
British laws governing libel and defamation tend to be much stricter than their American counterparts. In many cases, they public figures more leeway to push back against allegedly false claims published in the press and online media.