Libel/Defamation: Melania Trump wins libel damages from Daily Mail for 'escort' allegation
First Lady Melania Trump has succeeded in her libel claim against the Daily Mail after the newspaper's publishers have apologised and agreed to pay her damages and costs.
During 2016's election campaign the Daily Mail and the Mail Online published an allegation that Mrs Trump had once worked as an escort. It also suggested that Mr and Mrs Trump had met a number of years before 'staging' their first meeting. The story was subsequently retracted.
Mrs Trump issued proceedings both in the UK and the USA earlier this year, the former against the Daily Mail and the latter against the Mail Online.
On 12 April 2017 an agreed statement was read before Mr Justice Nichol in the High Court. Mrs Trump's lawyer said "“The allegations strike at the heart of the claimant’s personal integrity and dignity. The claimant has not acted as alleged. The suggestion that such allegations even merit investigation is deeply offensive and has caused a great deal of upset to the claimant.”
As part of the settlement, the defendants agreed to publish an apology. A copy of this can be found below:-
"The Mail Online website and the Daily Mail newspaper published an article on 20th August 2016 about Melania Trump which questioned the nature of her work as a professional model, and republished allegations that she provided services beyond simply modelling. The article included statements that Mrs. Trump denied the allegations and Paulo Zampolli, who ran the modelling agency, also denied the allegations, and the article also stated that there was no evidence to support the allegations. The article also claimed that Mr and Mrs Trump may have met three years before they actually met, and "staged" their actual meeting as a "ruse."
We accept that these allegations about Mrs Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them. 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."
The amount of damages/costs to be paid to Mrs Trump has not been disclosed, although media reports suggest it may be close to $3 million (£2.4 million).
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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.