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Donald Trump

Melania Trump gets Daily Mail to pay and apologise over false claims she may have worked as an escort

The August 2016 article entitled ‘Racy photos and troubling questions about his wife’s past that could derail Trump’ contained untrue allegations

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 April, 2017, 7:10pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 April, 2017, 7:18am

The Daily Mail and Mail Online will pay damages to settle a libel claim brought against it by the US first lady Melania Trump over false claims that she may have once worked as an escort.

An agreed statement was read out to in Britain’s Royal Courts of Justice on behalf of both parties.

US President Donald Trump’s spouse filed a suit against the British newspaper in the US for US$150 million alleging the article caused “tremendous harm” to her reputation and making it almost impossible to take advantage of “major business opportunities” available “for a multi-year term during which plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.”

The newspaper will pay Trump damages, but the amount was not disclosed.

However, a person familiar with the situation said the settlement was worth less than US$3 million, including legal costs and damages.

The statement said the article published in a double page spread last summer included “false and defamatory claims about [Mrs Trump] which questioned the nature of her work as a professional model and republished allegations that she provides services beyond simply modelling”.

The statement, read out by solicitor John Kelly, of the law firm Harbottle and Lewis, added: “the article included statements that Mrs Trump denied the allegations and Paulo Zampolli, who ran the modelling agency, also denied the allegations and the article also stated that there was no evidence to support the allegations.

“The article also claimed that Mr and Mrs Trump may have met three years before they actually met and ‘staged’ their actual meeting as a ‘ruse’. These allegations about Mrs Trump are not true.”

The original Daily Mail story was published on August 20, 2016 under the headline “Racy photos and troubling questions about his wife’s past that could derail Trump”.

The official portrait of first lady Melania Trump has divided US public opinion

The retraction and apology, which will be published in the Daily Mail and on its website, reads:

“The Daily Mail newspaper and the Mail Online/DailyMail.com website published an article on 20th August 2016 about Melania Trump which questioned the nature of her work as a professional model, and republished allegations that she provided services beyond simply modelling. The article included statements that Mrs Trump denied the allegations and Paulo Zampolli, who ran the modelling agency, also denied the allegations, and the article also stated that there was no evidence to support the allegations.

The article also claimed that Mr and Mrs Trump may have met three years before they actually met, and ‘staged’ their actual meeting as a ‘ruse’. We accept that these allegations about Mrs Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them. We apologise 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.”

Additional reporting by Bloomberg and Reuters