London’s tabloid Daily Mail has admitted in court and a written settlement that its 2016 story implying Melania Trump previously worked for an escort service was totally false.
The innuendo will cost the publication almost $3 million in damages and fees, which might be considered a bargain given that the now-First Lady had sought $150 million from the publication and its website in lawsuits filed in the United States and in Britain.
“We accept that these allegations about Mrs. Trump are not true,” said the newspaper in a joint statement, “and we retract and withdraw them. We apologize to Mrs. Trump for any distress that our publication caused her.”
Previously, the Daily Mail has paid damages for false claims concerning Elton John, the singer, and author J.K. Rowling.
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump called for “open(ing) up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.”
The original Daily Mail article was published in August last year, based on details from a biography and a newspaper in Mrs. Trump’s homeland of Slovenia.
The British newspaper and its Mail Online website, which has a significant American readership, quickly apologized and retracted the story, which carried the headline: “Racy photos and troubling questions about his wife’s past that could derail Trump.”
As it turned out, the derailing prediction proved wrong too.
Mrs. Trump’s suits claimed the Daily Mail misrepresentations were “false and defamatory” and “attacks on her reputation which discouraged members of the public from having a positive opinion of her.”