Melania Trump accepts Daily Mail damages and apology in libel case
12th April 2017
The Daily Mail and Mail Online will pay significant damages to settle a libel claim brought by the US first lady, Melania Trump, over false claims about her work as a professional model. An agreed statement was read out to Mr Justice Nicol in court 14 of the Royal Courts of Justice in London on behalf of both parties. Trump will receive damages and legal costs understood to be less than $3m (£2.
4m). The precise amount was not disclosed in the hearing. The statement said the article, published in a spread and online last summer, included “false and defamatory claims about [Mrs Trump] which questioned the nature of her work as a professional model and republished allegations that she provided services beyond simply modelling”.
The libel settlement is one of the highest ever to go through the British courts. Because the figure includes costs, it is difficult to compare it directly with the £1. 5m awarded to Lord Aldington in 1989 for false allegations made by Count Nikolai Tolstoy over the deaths of Cossacks in 1945.
Elton John reportedly received £1m from the Sun in a 1988 settlement. The statement, read out by solicitor John Kelly, of the law firm Harbottle and Lewis which represented Trump, added: “The article included statements that Mrs Trump denied the allegations and Paolo Zampolli, who ran the modelling 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’.
These allegations about Mrs Trump are not true. ” The original Daily Mail story was published on 20 August 2016 under the headline “Racy photos and troubling questions about his wife’s past that could derail Trump”. Melania Trump reportedly sought damages of $150m.
The statement added: “The allegations strike at the heart of the claimant’s personal integrity and dignity. The claimant has not acted as alleged. The suggestion that such allegations even merit investigation is deeply offensive and has caused a great deal of upset to the claimant.
” Kelly added: “The article occupied a spread with the headline printed in large bold font over of page 15. The article was illustrated with an old photograph of the claimant standing naked with her front against a wall but her face turned towards the camera. “The photograph was prominently displayed and occupied almost the entire side of page 15.
Readers of the newspaper could not fail to miss the article. ” Melania Trump was described as “the first lady of the United States of America, a successful businesswoman, a former model, and the wife of the president of the United States and highly successful businessman, Donald J Trump. The claimant and Mr Trump have been married since 2005 and have one child together.
” Catrin Evans QC, for the Daily Mail publisher Associated Newspapers, told the court that everything in the statement was accepted by the newspaper. The allegations had already been retracted and withdrawn. “The defendant is here today publicly to set the record straight and to apologise to the claimant for any distress and embarrassment that the articles may have caused her,” she added.
The settlement is understood to cover legal actions brought by Trump against the Daily Mail in both the UK and US. In a document filed in New York earlier this year, lawyers for Trump stated that the article had caused her serious financial damage. The claim said: “The economic damage to the plaintiff’s brand, and licensing, marketing and endorsement opportunities caused by the publication of Mail Online’s defamatory article, is multiple millions of dollars.
“[The] plaintiff had the unique, opportunity, as an extremely famous and person, as well as a former professional model, brand spokesperson and successful businesswoman, to launch a commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered business relationships for a term during which plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world. ” The retraction and apology, which will be published in the Daily Mail and on its website, reads: The Daily Mail newspaper and the Mail . com website published an article on 20th August 2016 about Melania Trump which questioned the nature of her work as a professional model, and republished allegations that she provided services beyond simply modelling.
The article included statements that Mrs Trump denied the allegations and Paolo Zampolli, who ran the modelling 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’. We accept that these allegations about Mrs Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them.
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 subheading on this article was amended on 13 April 2017, with “damages” changed to “damages and legal costs”.
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