Can Melania Trump win her libel lawsuit?

Several news organizations picked up on the rumors after the Mail’s article was published, only to retreat from them after Melania Trump’s lawyer, veteran Hollywood litigator Charles Harder, raised the specter of legal action. “She understands that news media have certain leeway in a presidential campaign, but outright lying about her in this way exceeds all bounds of appropriate news reporting and human decency,” Harder said in a statement.

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Through her lawyers and in the lawsuit itself, Melania Trump unequivocally denied both Tarpley’s and the Daily Mail’s claims. “[She] did legitimate and legal modeling work for legitimate business entities,” her lawsuit said. “[She] was not an escort or prostitute. [She] did not have an apoplectic fit, apoplectic tantrum, nervous breakdown or mental breakdown, nor is she terrified or obsessed by fear about revelations from her past.”

Melania Trump’s lawsuit describes both publishers’ conduct as “despicable, abhorrent, intentional, malicious, and oppressive.” But the legal battle will hinge on a specific descriptor her lawsuit used to describe Tarpley and the Daily Mail’s actions: “actual malice,” which basically means that the publishers knew, or should have known, that something they published was false.

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