First Lady Melania Trump has reportedly re-filed her libel lawsuit against Daily Mail after a court rejected the suit earlier. In the latest update, Melania is planning on “cashing in” on her trademark using her position as the wife of a sitting president, this according to a USA Today report.
Melania Trump has doubled her efforts to seek relief against the London-based parent company, Mail Online. Trump is seeking $150 million in damages against the American outpost, which, as the source reports, has been “comparatively” amenable to her “husband’s political career.” USA Today says the Melania Trump lawsuit is unprecedented — a “FLOTUS first.”
Trump sued the media giant for publishing a post based on a Slovenian magazine article that alleged Melania’s former modeling agency was also a front for high-end escort services. The DM article has since been retracted.
Just last week, Circuit Judge Sharon V. Burrell of Montgomery County in Maryland, tossed Melania Trump’s lawsuit against the “Daily.”
Apparently, the court (Melania Trump v. Mail Media Inc., No. 650661/2017, per Bloomberg) does not think jurisdiction applies in Trump’s libel civil action because there is not enough of a relationship between the parent company and the state. However, as The Cut reports, Melania’s lawsuit against Webster Griffin Tarpley, a 70-year-old blogger, could proceed.
Reuters reported that both parties settled the defamation lawsuit for a “substantial” amount of money. The blogger defendant issued a statement through Trump’s attorney.
“I acknowledge that these false statements were very harmful and hurtful to Mrs. Trump and her family, and therefore I sincerely apologize to Mrs. Trump, her son, her husband, and her parents for making these false statements.”
At the heart of Melania’s complaint are allegations that the article caused her brand, “Melania,” to lose “significant value” and “major business opportunities that were otherwise available to her.'”
Following her new filing, the first lady was criticized for using her position to profit, a practice not seen by former first ladies, according to multiple sources.
It's hard to find evidence of an extant thriving Melania Trump brand. https://t.co/rVi7F3FqHg— NPR (@NPR) February 8, 2017
Melania’s lawsuit reads in part that she “had the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person, as well as a former professional model, brand spokesperson, and successful businesswoman, to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multi-million dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which Plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.”
The Washington Post countered prevailing reports with new information from the Trump camp. In a Monday update on Melania Trump’s lawsuit, WAPO said reps of the first lady said she has “no intentions” to profit from her public position.
The next day, Trump’s attorney tried clearing the air by clarifying Melania’s intentions in the court complaint.
Melania hired Charles Harder to represent her in the lawsuit. Harder is best known in recent history for successfully settling a $140 million lawsuit between his client, Hulk Hogan and the now-bankrupt media company, Gawker.
“‘It is not a possibility,’ said statements issued simultaneously Tuesday by a spokeswoman for Melania Trump and a law firm representing her. ‘Any statements to the contrary are being misinterpreted.'”
Sources say Painter could not respond convincingly when pressed about why the language in civil court documents clashes with his new statement.
George W. Bush appointed Richard Painter as his White House ethics counsel. Painter is also a known critic of Donald Trump for the president not fully divesting himself from his businesses while in office. Painter said what First Lady Melania Trump suggested in her lawsuit amounts to “abuse of public office for private gain.”
Experts say Melania stands to profit immensely should she prevail in the lawsuit against Daily Mail. Her brand saw a spike in sales when she married Donald Trump. It then skyrocketed after her husband won the 2016 Elections.
A historian weighed in on the lawsuit filed by Melania Trump. Myra Gutin, a Rider University professor in New Jersey, said several first ladies have “participated” in paid events and programming. However, they’ve all donated their earnings to charity.
“It’s such murky territory. No, there is nothing that would prohibit her from profiting. But it would be a first.”
Do you think Melania Trump is using her lawsuit and position as first lady to “cash in” as sources interpret from her court filing?
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]