The publishers of the Daily Mail and MailOnline are set to pay First Lady Melania Trump an estimated several million dollars in damages over false claims they published last year that she acted as an escort while working as a professional model.
According to the Independent, the publications have also agreed to publish retractions and apologies to Trump.
Trump began legal action against the publications in August after they and several other outlets claimed that she worked as an escort in the 1990s, and that she and President Donald Trump initially met years prior to their actual meeting. After getting hit with a $150 million lawsuit in September, Daily Mail retracted the article and issued a statement.
“All such statements are 100% false, highly damaging to her reputation, and personally hurtful. 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,” Charles Harder, Trump’s attorney, wrote in an email statement last year.
The amount that Daily Mail and MailOnline will pay was undisclosed, but it is believed that the publishers, Associated Newspapers, will pay Trump less than $3 million in damages and legal fees. An agreed statement was read to the Royal Courts of Justice on behalf of Trump and the publications:
“The Daily Mail newspaper and the Mail Online/DailyMail.com website 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 modeling. The article included statements that Mrs. Trump denied the allegations and Paulo Zampolli, who ran the modeling 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 apologize 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.”
H/T the Independent