New analysis claims Melania Trump's Daily Mail lawsuit is 'based on a falsehood'

First lady Melania Trump has filed a new $150 million libel suit against Mail Media, a legal move the Washington Post argues is "is based on an untruth."

The Slovenia native settled one defamation lawsuit on Tuesday -- which she had originally filed against both the Daily Mail and a Maryland blogger who wrote about unsubstantiated rumors she had worked as an escort and falsely said she suffered a breakdown. Trump settled with the blogger, and refiled the suit against Daily Mail owner Mail Media in New York state court on Monday.

Trump's court-submitted complaint with a August 2016 Daily Mail article -- a piece she says cost her millions of dollars in potential business -- is described, saying, "Mail online stated in the defamatory article at issue that plaintiff's well-publicized professional modeling career in the 1990s was a ruse and that she instead worked as an elite escort' in the 'sex business.'"

Writing for Washington Post's "The Fix," Callum Borchers says this is a "gross mischaracterization" of the story.

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The article in question, authored by Natalie Clarke, calls into question rumors and claims about Melania Trump's history in the context of how it could affect her husband -- then presidential candidate Donald Trump. The main focus of the article was a series of claims published in Slovenia's Suzy magazine that Melania Trump's former modeling agency in New York also operated as an escort agency for wealthy clients.

"On the one hand they [the girls] pretended to be models, but they principally earned money as elite escorts," the Suzy magazine article claimed. "They even had two composite cards (presentation cards held by each model) — with two photos and basic information such as measurements, eye and hair colour, and agency details."

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In the end, though, the Daily Mail writer concedes little proof of these noted allegations, saying, "There is no evidence to back up these startling claims made in Suzy magazine."

And this is where Borchers gets the meat of his argument that Melania Trump's libel suit is based on falsehood. Even after the Daily Mail retracted the article on Sept. 1, Borchers says "The Daily Mail's report arguably did more to repair Trump's reputation than to damage it."

First, he argues the Daily Mail never accused Melania Trump of working in the "sex business," as her lawsuit states.

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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 Daily Mail might have made the wrong journalistic call," Borchers writes, "but it is objectively untrue to say — as the first lady's legal team does in the lawsuit — that the newspaper accused her of being a sex worker."

Borchers also points out that the escort claims were one detail within a 2,400 word expose centered on the "valid" question of how -- if at all -- Melania Trump's rumored past would affect Trump's presidential bid.

Whether Melania Trump finds fortune in her libel suit, a case particularly difficult to prove in the United States, remains to be seen. Regardless of how, Trump has already made history as the first president's wife to file a lawsuit while owning the title of first lady.

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