Melania Trump Settles With Daily Mail Parent Over Escort Story

Melania Trump attends the 2016 Time 100 Gala 2016 - Getty - P  2017
Jim Spellman/WireImage

First Lady Melania Trump has settled her defamation lawsuit against Mail Media over a Daily Mail story that suggested she was an escort when she emigrated to the United States in the 1990s.

The parties announced the resolution in a joint press release that shares word that Mail Media is making an apology as well as paying her an unspecified amount of money to end the lawsuit.

Ms. Trump sued in September 2016, during the heat of the campaign and with immigration as one of the election's biggest issues. She first filed her case in Maryland and took issue with an Aug. 19 article titled, "Naked photoshoots, and troubling questions about visas that won't go away: The VERY racy past of Donald Trump's Slovenian wife."

Represented by Charles Harder, the same attorney who represented Hulk Hogan's privacy suit against Gawker Media, the lawsuit targeted a story that discussed "highly-charged, lesbian-themed, nude photographs" and also questioned the exact timing of when she traveled to the U.S. on a visa. Much of the article relied on the work of a Slovenian journalist who had co-authored an unauthorized biography of Ms. Trump. There was some reliance on a Slovenian magazine to make the claim that the modeling agency she worked at was run by a New York entrepreneur, who allegedly also operated an escort agency for wealthy clients. The story also suggested that she and Donald Trump met three years earlier than they acknowledged and "staged" their actual meeting as a "ruse."

Ms. Trump also sued a Maryland blogger named Webster Griffin Tarpley, who made similar claims on his website.

The litigation triggered an interesting showdown over jurisdiction with a Maryland judge ultimately agreeing this case wasn't for her courtroom.

The case was then refiled, without Tarpley, in New York, and the case made more news with new pleadings that talked about lost business opportunities for Ms. Trump at a time when her husband was attempting to very lightly distance himself from a business empire for ethical reasons.

But the case won't last long.

The Daily Mail has now agreed to a retraction.

"We accept that these allegations about Mrs Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them," the publication's parent company said in the statement. "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."