Melania Trump lawsuit: Daily Mail and MailOnline agree to pay damages to First Lady

An article published in the newspaper and online 'included false and defamatory claims' about Mrs Trump's work as a model, the court decided

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The Independent US

The publishers of the Daily Mail and MailOnline have agreed to pay damages to Melania Trump over false claims about her work as a professional model.

The newspaper and website have agreed to publish a retraction and apology to the First Lady. 

An agreed statement was read out at the Royal Courts of Justice on behalf of both parties.

The statement said the article published in a double-page spread last summer included “false and defamatory claims about [Mrs Trump] which questioned the nature of her work as a professional model and republished allegations that she provides services beyond simply modelling”.

The statement, read out by solicitor John Kelly, of the law firm Harbottle & Lewis, added: “The article included statements that Mrs Trump denied the allegations and Paulo Zampolli, who ran the modelling agency, also denied the allegations and the article also stated that there was no evidence to support the allegations.

“The article also claimed that Mr and Mrs Trump may have met three years before they actually met and ‘staged’ their actual meeting as a ‘ruse’. These allegations about Mrs Trump are not true.”

Mr Kelly said the allegations about Mrs Trump were not true – and “strike at the heart of the claimant's personal integrity and dignity”.

Catrin Evans QC, for the publishers, Associated Newspapers – told the judge: “The defendant acknowledges that these claims about the claimant are untrue, and we retract and withdraw them.

“The defendant is here today publicly to set the record straight, and to apologise to the claimant for any distress and embarrassment that the articles may have caused her.”

The amount the newspaper will pay in damages was not disclosed in court, but it is believed that Associated Newspapers have agreed to pay less then $3m (£2.4m) in damages and legal fees to Mrs Trump

The retraction, which will be published in the Daily Mail and MailOnline, reads:

"The Daily Mail newspaper and the Mail Online/DailyMail.com website published an article on 20th August 2016 about Melania Trump which questioned the nature of her work as a professional model, and republished allegations that she provided services beyond simply modelling. The article included statements that Mrs Trump denied the allegations and Paulo Zampolli, who ran the modelling agency, also denied the allegations, and the article also stated that there was no evidence to support the allegations. The article also claimed that Mr and Mrs Trump may have met three years before they actually met, and ‘staged’ their actual meeting as a ‘ruse’.

"We accept that these allegations about Mrs Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them. We apologise to Mrs Trump for any distress that our publication caused her. To settle Mrs Trump’s two lawsuits against us, we have agreed to pay her damages and costs."