Lawyers for Melania Trump are pursuing legal action against the Daily Mail for reporting “100% false” rumors that she worked as an escort in the 1990s as well as raising questions about her immigration status at the time.
While Donald Trump has a reputation for threatening and pursuing litigation, it is unusual for a major party nominee or their spouse to mount legal action against a publication only months before an election.
The Republican nominee’s wife had previously denied a story in Politico in which questions about her immigration status were first reported but had not previously addressed the other accusations.
Melania Trump denies working unlawfully as model in US on improper visa
The suit comes in the wake of Trump launching an offensive against many media outlets, banning some such as Politico and the Washington Post from covering his rallies as well as calling for stricter libel laws in the US. He also banned the Guardian from attending an event in Scotland after Trump took offence when reporter Ewen MacAskill questioned the Republican nominee about his allegedly “toxic” politics.
In a statement to the Guardian, Charles Harder, an attorney at the firm of Harder, Miller and Abrams which is representing Trump, said: “This law firm is litigation counsel for Melania Trump. Mrs Trump has placed several news organizations on notice of her legal claims against them, including Daily Mail among others, for making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an ‘escort’ in the 1990s. 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.”
Harder’s not-quite-four-year-old Beverly Hills firm, Harder Mirell & Abrams LLP, is perhaps best known for representing Hulk Hogan in the lawsuit that eventually bankrupted Gawker Media, which was sold at auction to media company Univision earlier in August.
The suit was funded by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who spoke on behalf of Trump at the Republican national convention in Cleveland. Harder has also represented a number of other plaintiffs against Gawker as well; most recently, Harder has threatened a lawsuit against the now-defunct website because of an investigative report about Donald Trump’s hair.
A spokesperson for the Daily Mail did not respond to a request for comment.
Harder has since confirmed to the Guardian that Melania Trump is also considering filing lawsuits against other publications including Politico and the Week. Harder said that those publications are all “on notice” and no suit has been filed yet. The Guardian has since learned that Politico has received a letter from Harder putting the publication on notice of a potential legal action.
The lawyer’s complaints related to a 4 August story about Melania Trump’s immigration status when she first came to the United States. For other publications, Harder did not specify which articles Melania Trump considered defamatory.
Anything for massive publicity as the days to the elections draw near huh?