US & Canada

Melania Trump re-files Daily Mail lawsuit over 'lost business opportunities'

Melania Trump Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Melania Trump is seeking damages of $150m

US First Lady Melania Trump has re-filed a legal case against UK newspaper Daily Mail, saying it cost her the "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to profit from her brand.

Mrs Trump could have formed "multi-million dollar business relationships" while she was "one of the most photographed women in the world", the suit said.

The Daily Mail had reported allegations that she once worked as an escort.

It later retracted its article.

Mrs Trump previously launched a legal case against the newspaper in Maryland, but it was dismissed after a judge decided the case should not be filed in the state.

Mrs Trump's lawyers have now re-filed the complaint in New York, where Mail Media Inc, which owns the Daily Mail, has offices.

Mrs Trump is seeking damages of $150m (£120m).

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mrs Trump's fame, and her former work as a model and product spokesperson, meant she could have launched a broad commercial brand, her lawyers said

The defamatory Daily Mail article meant Mrs Trump's "brand has lost significant value", the complaint said.

Mrs Trump had the "opportunity... 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 [she] is one of the most photographed women in the world", it said.

The products categories would have included clothing, haircare and makeup, it added.

Issuing a retraction of the 20 August article, the Daily Mail said it "did not intend to state or suggest that these allegations are true, nor did it intend to state or suggest that Mrs Trump ever worked as an 'escort' or in the 'sex business'."

It has not commented on Tuesday's refiling of the lawsuit.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Melania Trump largely steered clear of discussing politics during her husband's campaign

Mrs Trump also sued a US blogger, Wester Tarpley, for making similar allegations to the Daily Mail.

The lawsuit was settled on Tuesday after Mr Tarpley issued an apology and agreed to pay a "substantial sum as a settlement", her lawyers said.

Conflict concerns

The Trump family has faced questions about its business interests.

Mr Trump has been criticised for handing control of his business empire to his sons, rather than liquidating his business holdings to avoid any appearance of a conflict.

One watchdog has launched a lawsuit against Mr Trump, arguing that as he has not divested from his businesses, he is receiving cash and favours from foreign governments through guests at his hotels and real estate deals, in violation of the Constitution.

Mr Trump said the lawsuit was "without merit".

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