Melania Trump wins early round in lawsuit over escort story


First lady Melania Trump scored a partial legal victory on Friday, with a judge shooting down arguments to dismiss the suit.

According to Politico, Montgomery County Circuit Judge Sharon Burrell disagreed with blogger Webster Tarpley's contention that the suit failed to meet the standard for "actual malice" with regard to public figures.

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First Family: Meet Melania Trump
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First Family: Meet Melania Trump

Born Melanija Knavs

Originally Melanija Knavs, Melania Trump was born April 20, 1970 in Novo Mesto, Slovenia. Born to a car dealer and children's clothing designer, she grew up in a modest home in a community then part of communist Yugoslavia. Melania has a younger sister and older half brother, whom her father had from a previous relationship.

Pictured: Taken in 1977, this image shows Melania, 7, (second from the right) attending a fashion review at the textile company where her mother was employed.

Began modeling at age 16. 

In her early days of modeling, Trump worked in Milan and Paris, before moving to New York in 1996.

Pictured: Melania Knauss during Fred Trump's Funeral at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City.

The Clintons attended their wedding.

In 2005, Melania and Donald married in a Palm Beach, Florida ceremony. Shaquille O'Neal, Kelly Ripa, Barbara Walters, Matt Lauer, Katie Couric and both President Bill Clinton and then-U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton were in attendance.

Pictured: Donald and Melania sit courtside before a 2001 Toronto Raptors game.

Melania and Donald have a son, Barron.

On March 20, 2006, Melania gave birth to her and Donald's son, Barron William Trump. He is often referred to as "The Little Donald."

Donald holds a replica of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as Melania holds their son Barron in Los Angeles in 2007.

She spoke at the Republican National Convention.

On July 18, Melania addressed delegates on the first day of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The soon-to-be first lady was quickly criticized, though, when it became clear parts of her speech were identical to that of First lady Michelle Obama in 2008.

She cares about bullying.

On November 3, Melania Trump gave her first solo campaign speech for her husband in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, saying she would work to combat bullying as first lady. "Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers," she said, noting that kids are often hurt when they are "made to feel less in looks or intelligence."

She said she wants to be "true to herself" as first lady.

On November 11, President-elect Trump and his family -- including Melania -- appeared on 60 Minutes in their first post-election television interview. In the interview, Melania opened up to Lesley Stahl about staying true to herself, meeting Michelle Obama at the White House and how she hopes to raise son, Barron, as they transition to life as the first family.

Melania and Barron will stay in New York for the time being.

On November 20, Trump transition team sources said that Melania and 10-year-old son, Barron, are expected to spend most of their time in New York at least through spring of 2017. The team offered keeping Barron in his Upper West Side private school as reasoning for their staying in New York.

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The judge also rejected an argument by Tarpley's lawyers that Trump's suit runs afoul of Maryland's SLAPP law, which aims to prevent lawsuits brought to intimidate others from speaking out on public matters.

Trump sued Tarpley and the Daily Mail in September, claiming that a story saying that Trump worked for a modeling agency where the models also worked as escorts inaccurately painted her as a sex worker.

"Plaintiff did legitimate and legal modeling work for legitimate business entities and did not work for any 'gentleman's club' or 'escort' agencies,'" Trump's lawsuit reads. "Plaintiff was not a sex worker, escort or prostitute in any way, shape or form."

On Friday, Judge Burrell ruled in Trump's favor.

"The court finds the plaintiff has stated a claim for defamation," Burrell said. "The court believes most people, when they hear the words 'high-end escort' that describes a prostitute. There could be no more defamatory statement than to call a woman a prostitute."

Despite the partial early victory, Trump's claims against the Daily Mail still hang in the balance. An attorney for Mail Media told the court that Maryland is an improper venue for the claims against the Mail. The attorney, Kelli Sager, also contended that Trump is aso suing the Daily Mail's parent company in London over the escort article.

While those claims are still being weighed, Judge Burrell halted discovery proceedings against the Daily Mail, which retracted its story, possibly suggesting that the claims against the Mail could be dropped in the Maryland case.

Trump's attorney had no comment for TheWrap on Friday's ruling.

The First Lady is seeking damages "in an amount in excess of $75,000."

Read original story Melania Trump Wins Early Round in Lawsuit Over Escort Story At TheWrap


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