Melania Trumps refiles Daily Mail lawsuit after removing all mentions of profiting from being First Lady

The President's wife had been widely criticised after court papers revealed plans to use 'unique opportunity' to launch 'broad-based commercial brand'

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The Independent US

Melania Trump has resubmitted her defamation lawsuit against the Daily Mail's website for wrongly reporting rumours that she worked as a high-end escort in the 1990s.

But this time the paperwork has removed references to her plans to monetise her position as first lady. 

The former model is suing Mail Media Inc for $150 million (£120 million) in damages after The Mail Online alleged that her catwalk career was a “ruse” and said she was actually an escort in the “sex business”.

It has since issued a retraction and apologised.

Ms Trump is also suing the blogger, Webster Tarpley for making similar claims. 

Ms Trump's original lawsuit was dismissed by a judge in Maryland, where it was filed, because the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear a case involving a foreign company. The lawsuit was subsequently resubmitted in New York, where Mail Media Inc has offices. 

Her legal filing in Maryland was criticised however, for arguing that the claims had caused her brand to lose significant value as well as major business opportunities that were otherwise available to her.

The original claim had described her position as First Lady as a “unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to “launch a broad-based commercial brand” and secure “multi-million dollar business relationships”.

It said: “Plaintiff had the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person…to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multi-million dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.

“These product categories would have included, among other things, apparel, accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care, skin care and fragrance.”

Experts had said the wording of the original lawsuit raised serious legal questions. Richard Painter, who worked as an ethics adviser to George W. Bush, said it was a “clear breach of rules about using her government position for private gain.”

In the amended lawsuit, Ms Trump’s lawyers make no mentions of her business interests. 

But the revised complaint comes amid mounting criticism from ethics experts over the First Lady’s original suit.

Richard Painter, former ethics adviser to George W. Bush, told the Associated Press that  the the First Lady’s charges were a “clear breach of rules about using her government position for private gain.”

He said: “This is a very serious situation where she says she intends to make a lot of money. That ought to be repudiated by the White House or investigated by Congress”,

US laws prevent holders of public office from using their position for personal financial gain.

Ms Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder insisted filing was being “misinterpreted”.

He told The Guardian that his client “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.”

Donald Trump has also been criticised for profiting financially through his role as President. He has frequently held meetings at, and tweeted about, his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, attracting a significant amount of publicity for the resort where membership fees are said to cost $200,000.