U.K. newspaper The Daily Mail and its website, DailyMail.com, have settled a libel case filed against it by First Lady Melania Trump, according to multiple reports.
Last August, the paper and the website published a story that “questioned the nature of [Mrs. Trump’s] work as a professional model and republished allegations that she provided services beyond simply modeling.” The story indicated that the modeling agency Trump worked for also operated as a professional escort service. Both Trump and the owner of the modeling service provided statements that ran in the story that denied those assertions.
After Trump sued The Daily Mail in Montgomery, Md., and in London, the publication published a retraction, according to The New York Times. The Maryland court ruled that it didn’t have jurisdiction over the case, so in February Trump filed a new complaint in New York.
Trump had reportedly sued the publication for $150 million in damages but settled for a figure understood to be less than $3 million and an apology in addition to the previous retraction.
According to a statement issued by Trump’s attorney, “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.”
The paper and website removed the article and printed the following retraction:
“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 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.”
DailyMail.com is on track to be launched as syndicated strip DailyMailTV this fall. The show will be produced by Jay McGraw’s Stage 29 Productions, which is housed at CBS Television Distribution. CTD is distributing the show, which is currently sold to the Tribune, Sinclair and Gray station groups.