Lawyers for first lady Melania Trump changed and refiled her multimillion dollar defamation lawsuit against Daily Mail Online on Friday in New York. Trump is suing the media outlet for publishing a false story that claimed, falsely, she worked for a high-end escort service.
The new version of the lawsuit leaves out a controversial portion of the original – a section that argued the first lady’s earning potential as a brand spokeswoman would be irretrievably damaged by the defamation. Critics questioned whether Trump would be attempting to cash in on her high-profile status as first lady of the United States.
The original language, which has now been removed, stated: “Plaintiff (Melania Trump) had the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as an extremely famous and well-known person, as well as a former professional model and brand spokesperson and successful businesswoman, to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multimillion dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.”
Trump had earlier sued both the Daily Mail Online and a Mayland-based blogger. The blogger settled with Trump out of court, but a judge in Mayland dismissed the first suit against the Daily Mail for being filed in the wrong court.
The new, amended version in New York still asks for $150 million in damages, but now it hinges more on the emotional toll of the defamation than the damage it inflicted on the first lady’s earning potential.
“The first lady has no intention of using her position for profit and will not do so. It is not a possibility. Any statements to the contrary are being misinterpreted,” said Trump’s lawyer, Beverly Hills-based Charles Harder in a statement.
The updated lawsuit, also filed by Harder, now includes a portion relating to an incident earlier this month in which New York Times reporter Jacob Bernstein was forced to apologize after he was overheard calling Mrs. Trump “a hooker” at a party. The lawyers are using it as an example of the fallout from the defamation.
“As a direct result of Mail Online’s actions, Plaintiff has suffered emotional distress and is entitled to compensatory and punitive damages in an amount to be proven at trial and not less than $150 million,” according to the filing.
Requests for comment on the refiling of the lawsuit to the First Lady’s office were not returned.