Daily Mail to pay Melania Trump damages over 'escort' allegation
British newspaper Daily Mail has agreed to pay damages and costs to US First Lady Melania Trump over an article in which it alleged that she once worked as an escort. The article was published last year during the election campaign. Daily Mail had subsequently retracted its claims. Melania had filed a lawsuit against Daily Mail in Britain and Mail Online in the US.
Melania Trump was born Melanija Knavs in a small town close to Slovenia's capital Ljubljana. During her late teens, she signed to a modelling agency and appeared in several major ad campaigns of global brands. In 1998, at age 28, she met Donald Trump at a party during the New York Fashion week. The two got married in 2005.
In August, the Daily Mail published a double-page piece titled "Racy photos and troubling questions about his wife's past that could derail Trump." The article alleged Melania Trump had once worked as an escort during her modelling days. It posted Melania's old nude photo from her modelling career. It claimed Melania and Donald had met in 1995 and later "staged" their meeting.
Melania accepted an undisclosed amount in damages and an apology from the Daily Mail at the London High Court. Her lawyer said she was "very pleased" with the result and "will remain vigilant to protect her good name and reputation from those who make false and defamatory statements about her." The newspaper's payout settles the lawsuits filed both in New York and London.
The lawsuit filed against Mail Online last year sought $150 million in damages. The settlement amount accepted by Melania in London hasn't been disclosed. Reports say it was closer to $3 million, which includes legal costs and damages.