Melania Trump became the first First Lady to file a lawsuit this week when she refiled her $150 million libel lawsuit against the British tabloid Daily Mail for printing a story claiming she once worked as an escort.
USA Today reported that when Daily Mail first published the allegations in August of 2016, Melania’s lawyers spoke out to say that the claims were, “100% false and tremendously damaging to her personal and professional reputation.”
Melania’s initial effort to file in Maryland was rejected by a judge as the wrong venue, since Daily Mail is based in New York. Undeterred, her lawyers filed a new filing in which they said Melania “had the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person, as well as a former professional model, 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 stated that these products could have included apparel, accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care and fragrance, among others.
Melania’s lawyer Charles Harder spoke out to say that she actually has no intention of monetizing her role as first lady.
“The first lady has no intention of using her position for profit and will not do so,” Harder said in a statement. “Any statements to the contrary are being misinterpreted.”
Filing a lawsuit such as this is a truly historic move for a First Lady.
“It’s unprecedented for a president (to file a libel suit), let alone a first lady,” said Mark Feldstein, a former NBC investigative reporter and a journalism professor at the University of Maryland.
He added that since libel lawsuits are difficult to win in the U.S., Melania has a tough road to victory.
“I think this (Trump suit) will get tossed pretty quickly,” Feldstein says. “I don’t see this as challenging New York Times vs Sullivan, which is the linchpin of (libel) law, that there is an extraordinarily high threshold to prove libel of a public figure. It not only has to be false, it has to be published with actual malice, meaning reckless disregard for the truth.”
SHARE this story if you support Melania Trump!