Melania Trump accepts Daily Mail damages and apology in libel case | Melania Trump | The Guardian

The Daily Mail and Mail Online will pay significant damages to settle a defamation lawsuit brought by US First Lady Melania Trump over false claims about her work as a professional model.

An agreed statement was read to Judge Nicol in Court 14 of the Royal Courts of Justice in London on behalf of both parties. Trump will receive damages and legal costs that are understood to be less than $3 million (£2.4 million). the exact amount was not disclosed at the hearing.

The statement said the article, published as a double-page spread online last summer, included “false and defamatory claims about [Mrs. trump] that questioned the nature of her work as a professional model and republished allegations that provided services beyond just modeling.”

The defamation settlement is one of the highest that has ever passed through British courts. Because the figure includes costs, it is difficult to compare directly with the £1.5 million awarded to Lord Aldington in 1989 for false accusations made by Count Nikolai Tolstoy about the deaths of Cossacks in 1945. Reportedly, Elton John received £1 million from the Sun in a 1988 out-of-court settlement.

The statement, read by attorney john kelly of the harbottle and lewis law firm who represented trump, added: “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.

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“the article also stated that mr. and mrs. trump may have met three years before they actually met and ‘staged’ their actual meeting as a ‘trout’. These accusations about Mrs. Trump are not true.”

The original Daily Mail story ran on August 20, 2016 with the headline “risque photos and disturbing questions about his wife’s past that could derail trump.”

melania trump reportedly sought $150 million in damages.

the statement added: “the accusations strike at the heart of the complainant’s dignity and personal integrity. the plaintiff has not acted as alleged. the suggestion that such allegations even warrant an investigation is deeply offensive and has caused plaintiff great distress.”

kelly added: “the article ran on a double page spread with the headline printed in large bold print on one-third of page 15. the article was illustrated with an old photograph of the plaintiff standing nude with her front against a wall . but her face turned towards the camera.

“The photograph was prominent and took up almost the entire right side of page 15. Newspaper readers couldn’t help but miss the article.”

melania trump was described as “the first lady of the united states of america, a successful businesswoman, former model, and wife of the president of the united states and highly successful businessman, donald j trump. Plaintiff and Mr. Trump have been married since 2005 and have a child together.”

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catrin evans qc, of daily mail publisher associate newspapers, told the court that the newspaper accepted everything in the statement. the allegations had already been retracted and withdrawn. “The defendant is here publicly today to set the record straight and apologize to the plaintiff for any distress and embarrassment the items may have caused her,” she added.

The settlement is understood to cover legal action brought by Trump against the Daily Mail in both the UK and the US.

in a document filed in new york earlier this year, trump’s lawyers stated that the article had caused him serious financial damage. The claim stated: “The economic damage to the plaintiff’s brand, and licensing, marketing, and sponsorship opportunities caused by posting the defamatory article from the mail online, is several million dollars.

“[the] plaintiff had the unique and unrepeatable 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 commercial brand based on multiple product categories, each one of which could have generated multi-million dollar business relationships over a period of several years during which the plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.”

The retraction and apology, to be published in the daily mail and on their website, reads:

the daily mail newspaper and the website mail online/dailymail.com published an article on August 20, 2016 about melania trump questioning the nature of her work as a professional model and republishing accusations that she provided services beyond from simple modelling. 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 like a “trout.”

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we accept that these accusations about mrs. trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them. We apologize to Mrs. Trump for any inconvenience our post has caused her. To settle Mrs. Trump’s two lawsuits against us, we have agreed to pay her damages and costs.

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