The Media

Melania Trump Threatens to Sue a Bunch of News Outlets

Celebrity figures threaten to sue publications all the time, but this is a little different.

Melania Trump, the wife of GOP nominee Donald Trump, is threatening to sue half a dozen publications for reporting that she worked for an escort service in the 1990s. What makes this more than routine celebrity gossip is the Trump's choice of lawyer.

Trump, the wife of the Republican presidential nominee, has placed The Daily Mail and other news organizations "on notice... for making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an 'escort' in the 1990s," Charles Harder, a lawyer for Trump, said in a statement. [...]

The outlets that have been put on notice by Melania Trump include The Daily Mail, The Week, Politico, Inquisitr, Tarpley, Before It's News, Liberal America, LawNewz, Winning Democrats and Bipartisan Report, Harder told CNNMoney.

Charles Harder represented Hulk Hogan in his case against Gawker Media and, as you know, Gawker was forced into bankruptcy and shut down this week.

Inquisitr and Bipartisan Report have already apologized for citing the original Daily Mail report and I'm forced to wonder if they would have apologized so quickly if a billionaire-funded lawyer who just killed Gawker wasn't breathing down their neck.

Whether or not the original story is true or false, legal threats against publications could become far more common now and just a threat may be enough to make a story go away.

I would be remiss not to point out the glaring hypocrisy of the Trumps on this particular issue given their extremely close ties to the National Enquirer and Breitbart News. Both publications print salacious garbage as a matter of routine, but you don't see Democrats crying to their lawyers about it.

  • muselet

    Brietbart Unmasked quotes Newsmax that the Daily Mail got its information from a Slovenian magazine and everyone else quoted the DM.

    Whether or not Charles Harder’s notices are more than huffing and puffing, I know not, but it is amusing to note that the Daily Mail is the point source for many of the wilder anti-Hillary Clinton conspiracy theories circulating. Is this friendly fire or fragging?

    –alopecia

  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    Fun thing about libel: The truth is an “absolute defense.”

    You can print literally anything in the world and be safe from defamation / libel so long as it’s true.

    Further, as it pertains to “public” persons, the standard is simply a “reasonable belief” at the time of publication.

    It’s a very low bar, and if they have anything to back up the assertion, they should have no problem beating Trump’s lawyer into a mushy pulp and then counter-suing for expenses. The fact that they’re backing down tells me they don’t have any necessary support and this is just unsubstantiated tabloid journalism.