Melania Trump sues over Daily Mail story suggesting she was an escort

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Melania Trump is Taking on the Media

Melania Trump, wife of the Republican nominee for U.S. President, filed a defamation lawsuit on Thursday against Mail Media, parent company of the UK publication, The Daily Mail.

In a complaint lodged in Maryland Circuit Court, Ms. Trump is taking issue with an Aug. 19 article entitled, "Naked photoshoots, and troubling questions about visas that won't go away: The VERY racy past of Donald Trump's Slovenian wife."

She is represented by Charles Harder, the same attorney who represented Hulk Hogan in a huge trial court victory that bankrupted Gawker Media with a $140 million verdict.

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Model Melania Knauss arrives at the "VH1 Divas 2000: A Tribute to Diana Ross" Sunday, April 9, 2000, in New York. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
Donald Trump's new bride, Slovenian model Melania Knauss, waves as they leave the Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church after their wedding in Palm Beach, Florida, January 22, 2005. REUTERS/Gary I Rothstein
Real estate magnate Donald Trump and his girlfriend Melania Knauss arrive at the Metropolitan Club in New York where Hollinger International was holding its annual meeting on May 22, 2003. Hollinger publishes newspapers The Chicago Sun-Times, The Daily Telegraph of London, and the Jerusalem Post. REUTERS/Peter Morgan PM/ME
Donald Trump and his girlfriend Melania Knauss arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar party at Morton's restaurant in West Hollywood, California, February 29, 2004. REUTERS/Ethan Miller REUTERS EM/AS
Melania Knauss at the Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, New York (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 14: Model Melania Knauss arrives for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show November 14, 2002 in New York City. (Photo by Lawrence Lucier/Getty Images)
386900 78: Business tycoon Donald Trump with his girlfriend, model Melania Knauss arrive for the 73rd Annual Academy Awards March 25, 2001 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Melania Knauss during The 36th Annual New York Film Festival - 'Celebrity' Opening Night at Avery Fisher Hall/Lincoln Center in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Trump's girlfriend, model Melania Knauss at the world premiere of 'I Dreamed Of Africa' at Sony Theatres Lincoln Square in New York City. 4/18/00 Photo by Evan Agostini/ImageDirect
Melania Knauss and Donald Trump during 2002 VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards - Arrivals at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 17: Melania Knauss attends the private party hosted by Donald Trump's T Management for legendary supermodel Pat Cleveland at Ian Schrager's Hudson Sky Terrace September 17, 2003 in New York. (Photo By Steven Henry/Getty Images)
Melania Knauss during 'The Apprentice' Finale Party at Trump Tower in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Robin Platzer/FilmMagic)
Melania Knauss during 'Trump World' Magazine Launch Party at Trump World Tower in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by J. Countess/WireImage)
NEW YORK - APRIL 6: Gala vice-chair Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump, arrives at the Martha Graham Dance Company opening night gala at New York City Center on April 6, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
Melania Trump during Donald Trump Hosts the Opening Night Reception of 'Veranda: New York's Best at Trump Park Avenue, The Ultimate Showcase Penthouse' at Trump Park Avenue in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - APRIL 20: Melania Trump arrives at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation's Annual Hot Pink Party at the Waldorf-Astoria on April 20, 2005 in New York. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Melania Trump during 'Sweet Charity' Broadway Opening Night - Arrivals at The Al Hirshfeld Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
Melania Trump (Photo by Jason Kempin/FilmMagic)
Donald Trump and Melania Trump (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK - MAY 07: Melania Trump attends the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit Gala 'Poiret: King Of Fashion' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 04: Melania Trump attends 'The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion' Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 25: Melania Trump attends the Police Athletic League's 37th annual Superstar dinner at The Pierre Hotel on June 25, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Kohen/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 24: Melania Trump attends the premiere of 'Sex and the City 2' at Radio City Music Hall on May 24, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Melania Trump arrives at QVC Red Carpet Style Party on February 25, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 13: Melania Trump attends the Philadelphia Style Magazine holiday issue release party at 10 Arts Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton on December 13, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Melania Trump attends the 'Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations' Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03: (L-R) Donald Trump and Melania Trump attend the Operation Smile 10th Anniversary event on May 3, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 20: Melania Trump attends the 'Celebrity Apprentice' Live Finale at American Museum of Natural History on May 20, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 16: Donald Trump and Melania Trump attend 'The Dark Knight Rises' premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on July 16, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)
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The story in The Daily Mail covered Trump's journey to New York in the mid-1990s and raised questions about her past based on "highly-charged, lesbian-themed, nude photographs," the exact timing of when she traveled to the U.S. on a visa, and her time working for a modeling agency. The article relied on the work of a Slovenian journalist who had co-authored an authorized biography of Ms. Trump as well as a report in a Slovenian magazine to make the claim that her modeling agency was run by a New York entrepreneur, who also ran an escort agency for wealthy clients.

The article stated, "What Melania's [composite card] looked like only the people involved know, but it is no coincidence she got a rich husband."

According to Trump's lawsuit, "The statements of fact in the Daily Mail Article are false. Plaintiff did legitimate and legal modeling work for legitimate business entities and did not work for any 'gentleman's club' or 'escort' agencies. Plaintiff was not a sex worker, escort or prostitute in any way, shape or form, nor did she ever have a composite or presentation card for the sex business. Plaintiff did not come to the United States until 1996. Thus, Plaintiff did not, and could not have participated in a photo shoot in the United States or met her current husband in the United States prior to that time."

The lawsuit follows legal threats sent out by Trump's lawyer to a number of publications including Politico.

Trump asserts that the The Daily Mail consciously doubted the truth of the claims in the article, but decided to publish it anyway, and that reporters there can't simply rely on "unsubstantiated" claims and "an unauthorized book written by malicious and bitter 'reporters' who have never met or spoken to Ms. Trump."

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