Melania Trump filed a libel lawsuit Thursday in Montgomery County Circuit Court against a Maryland-based blogger and a tabloid for publishing “false and tremendously damaging” statements.
Webster Tarpley, a Gaithersburg resident who runs the blog tarpley.net, published a post on Aug. 2 that claimed Trump, the wife of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, was not a former model but rather a former “high end escort.”
Tarpley also wrote that Trump was suffering from a “full-blown nervous breakdown” after she gave a speech at the Republican National Convention in July.
The suit seeks in excess of $75,000 from Tarpley. It claims his statements are false and defamed Mrs. Trump’s character, and that Tarpley acted with “actual malice” by “consciously doubting the truth of the claims in the article.”
Mrs. Trump sought an apology and retraction from Tarpley on Aug. 21, and he removed the post and issued an apology on or about Aug. 22, according to the suit.
“While the tarpley.net editors, writers and contributors did not generate said rumors, the briefing in question was not diligent in fact-checking or maintaining a healthy distance between innuendo and fact,” the apology post said.
The suit also seeks in excess of $75,000 in compensation from the tabloid Daily Mail for libel as well.
Charles Harder, who represented Hulk Hogan in a successful defamation case against Gawker Media, was one of the lawyers listed on the suit.
The defendants “broadcast their lies to millions of people throughout the U.S. and the world—without any justification,” Harder told CNN in a Thursday article. Harder has estimated $150 million in damages for Mrs. Trump.
Tarpley called the suit “without merit” and an attempt to intimidate journalists into being silent, according to NBC.