The Daily Mail issued an apology on its website today, and said it agreed to pay damages to Melania Trump to settle the suits she filed last year over an article that suggested she once worked as a escort.
“We accept that these allegations about Mrs. Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them,” the Daily Mail states in a post labeled “An Apology” on its site. “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 Mail Online website and the Daily Mail newspaper published an article on August 20, 2016, “which questioned the nature of [Melania Trump’s] work as a professional model, and republished allegations that she provided services beyond simply modeling,” the publication explained in its statement. “The article included statements that Mrs. Trump denied the allegations and [Paolo] 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.’”
Melania Trump had filed the suits in Montgomery County, Md., and in London, and the tabloid had followed up quickly with a retraction. But, a Maryland judge dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds, causing Melania Trump’s legal team to file a new case in New York in February.
Stirring significant controversy, in the new suit, Melania Trump’s lawyers had argued that as a result of the Daily Mail article, the first lady’s personal brand lost “significant value” and “major business opportunities.”
And while the suit did not mention Melania Trump’s role in the White House specifically, it said that Melania Trump lost out on a “unique, once-in-a-lifetime” chance to launch a “broad-based commercial brand” that would have garnered “multi-million dollar business relationships” for a “multi-year term,” during which she “is one of the most photographed women in the world.”
Among the many product categories that would have come from her brand were “apparel, accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care, skin care and fragrance,” according to the lawsuit.
Trump had sought compensatory and punitive damages of at least $150 million.
Terms of the settlement, announced today, have not been disclosed.