U.S. First Lady Melania Trump has re-filed a defamation lawsuit against the company that publishes the Daily Mail’s website, saying an article posted there in August 2016 harmed her ability to earn millions of dollars during a time when she would be “one of the most photographed women in the world.”
The article discussed false allegations made in a book and a Slovenian magazine that a modeling agency Trump worked for operated as an escort agency.
Trump’s lawyers said in the lawsuit filed in New York that the article falsely portrayed her as a prostitute, and that the Daily Mail published the piece either knowing the allegations were false or “with reckless disregard for the truth.”
The lawsuit seeks $150 million in damages for harm done to her business interests and for emotional distress.
“The plaintiff had the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person, as well as a former professional model and brand spokesperson, and successful businesswoman, to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multi-million dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which Plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world,” the lawsuit says.
At the time the article was published, Trump’s husband, Donald, had already been named the Republican Party’s nominee for president at a convention where Melania Trump gave a prime-time speech.
The Daily Mail posted a statement in September saying its article stated “there was no support” for the allegations in the book and magazine, and that the purpose of the article was not to suggest they were true. It stated regret for “any such misinterpretation.”
“The point of the article was that these allegations could impact the U.S. presidential election even if they are untrue,” the statement said.
Trump earlier filed the lawsuit in the state of Maryland, but a judge there dismissed it after ruling that court was not the correct jurisdiction.