Melania Trump reaches settlement in libel lawsuit against Maryland blogger

"The suit makes clear she believes she was damaged because she can't make as much money off her position as First Lady", said Richard Painter, who served as White House ethics counsel under President George W Bush.

In the lawsuit, Trump claimed she lost out on the opportunity to make millions of dollars "to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories" as "one of the most photographed women in the world".

As for the "categories" her brand could have fully expanded into had it not been for that insulting article, the lawsuit lays out, "among other things, apparel accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care, skin care and fragrance".

Both suits were originally filed in Maryland in September, but the complaint against the Daily Mail was rejected on grounds that the court lacked geographical jurisdiction over the matter, which would need to be heard in NY. But the lawsuit cites significant emotional and economic damage and asks for compensatory and punitive damages of at least $150 million.

Melania's settlement with blogger Webster Tarpley comes a day after she found a new venue for her related claims against the Mail Online.

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The offending article was eventually retracted with a statement from the Daily Mail that it didn't "intend to state or suggest that Mrs. Trump ever worked as an "escort" or in the sex business".

Last month, however, Burrell allowed Trump's claims against Tarpley to proceed while making a strong statement about Tarpley's allegations about Trump.

Melania claims the August 19 article titled "Naked photoshoots, and troubling questions about visas that won't go away: The VERY racy past of Donald Trump's Slovenian Wife", contained bogus and defamatory claims - hurting both her reputation and many business interests... It seems that, while this would present even more ethical concerns for the first family, it would be legal for Melania to have a side job and earn an income during her time as first lady. The lawsuit also states that the article "impugned her fitness to perform her duties as First Lady of the United States". But with a lawsuit recently announced involving a product line she may want to launch during her husband's presidency, many are asking: can the first lady have a job, legally?

Neither the lawyer who filed the suit, Charles Harder of Beverly Hills, California, nor the White House responded to requests for comment.

The Trump family has faced questions about its business interests.

  • Adam Floyd