A lawyer for US First Lady Melania Trump argued that an article falsely alleging that she once worked for an escort service hurt her chance to establish “multi-million dollar business relationships”, the media reported.
The suit, filed on Monday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan against Mail Media, the owner of the Daily Mail, said the article published by the daily and its online division in August caused Melania Trump’s line of jewellery, to lose “significant value” as well as “major business opportunities that were otherwise available to her”, The Washington Post reported.
In April 2010, Melania Trump launched her line, “Melania Timepieces and Jewelry” on QVC, a US homeshopping channel.
The suit noted that the article had damaged Trump’s “unique, once in a lifetime opportunity” to “launch a broad-based commercial brand”.
“These product categories would have included, among other things, apparel accessories, shoes, jewellery, cosmetics, hair care, skin care and fragrance,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed on the First Lady’s behalf by California attorney Charles Harder.
The suit filed Monday did not spell out a plan by Melania Trump to market her products during her tenure as First Lady, but mentioned that her reputation had suffered just as she was experiencing a “multi-year term” of elevated publicity.
The suit said the Daily Mail article “impugned her fitness to perform her duties as First Lady of the United States”.
A similar suit had been filed against Mail Media and a local blogger in Maryland, but a judge recently dismissed the case against the Daily Mail on jurisdictional grounds.
The article was eventually retracted with a statement from the Daily Mail that it did not “intend to state or suggest that Mrs. Trump ever worked as an ‘escort’ or in the sex business”.
The original article provided denials from Melania Trump’s spokesman, The Washington Post said.
But the lawsuit said significant emotional and economic damage was done and asked for compensatory and punitive damages of at least $150 million.