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Melania Trump files sues The Daily Mail, Maryland blogger over escort insinuations

WASHINGTON — Melania Trump has filed a lawsuit against a British news website and a Maryland blogger, saying the two published false statements about her alleged involvement with an escort agency.

The wife of the Republican presidential nominee filed the suit Thursday in state court in Montgomery County, Maryland. That’s the home of Webster Tarpley, who publishes the Tarpley.net blog. The Daily Mail Online also is named as a defendant.

“These defendants made several statements about Mrs. Trump that are 100% false and tremendously damaging to her personal and professional reputation,” Charles Harder, an attorney for the Trump family, said in a statement to several media outlets Thursday. “Defendants broadcast their lies to millions of people throughout the U.S. and the world—without any justification.”

The suit seeks a minimum of $75,000 from each defendant.

The suit says the Daily Mail Online published an article about Trump that referred to Trump’s “very racy past.” The suit also says Tarpley.net published a post referring to Trump’s time as a “high-end escort.”

Harder, Trump’s lawyer, also represented Hulk Hogan in his defamation suit against the now-defunct website Gawker.

In a statement on its website Thursday evening, The Daily Mail issued a retraction on the story and noted that it had not meant to insinuate the claims of escort work were true—just that they could affect Donald Trump’s presidential bid.

“The article ... did not intend to state or suggest that these allegations are true, nor did it intend to state or suggest that Mrs. Trump ever worked as an ‘escort’ or in the ‘sex business,’” the Daily Mail’s note read. “To the contrary, The Daily Mail newspaper article stated that there was no support for the allegations, and it provided adamant denials from Mrs. Trump’s spokesperson and from Mr. Zampolli. The point of the article was that these allegations could impact the U.S. presidential election even if they are untrue.”