The British newspaper the Daily Mail and its companion website MailOnline have retracted a story questioning whether allegations Melania Trump once worked as an "escort" in the 1990s could derail her husband Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
The retraction comes after Melania Trump earlier Thursday filed a lawsuit against The Daily Mail and an American blogger for libel over the reports.
Trump's attorney, Charles Harder, said in a statement that the defendants "made several statements about Mrs. Trump that are 100% false and tremendously damaging to her personal and professional reputation."
The lawsuit was filed in circuit court in Montgomery County, Md., against Mail Media and Webster Tarpley, who published the blog Tarpley.net in Montgomery County.
"These defendants made several statements about Mrs. Trump that are 100% false and tremendously damaging to her personal and professional reputation," Harder said in a statement. "Defendants broadcast their lies to millions of people throughout the U.S. and the world -- without any justification. Their many lies include, among others, that Mrs. Trump supposedly was an 'escort' in the 1990s before she met her husband. Defendants' actions are so egregious, malicious, and harmful to Mrs. Trump that her damages are estimated at $150 million dollars."
Harder represented Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against Gawker Media, which eventually led to the site shutting down.
In its retraction, the Daily Mail said its article published August 20 "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.'
"To the contrary," the retraction continues, "The Daily Mail newspaper article stated that there was no support for the allegations, and it provided adamant denials from Mrs. Trump's spokesperson and from Mr. [Paolo] Zampolli," who ran Donald Trump's modeling agency in New York.
The article's point was that the allegations "could impact the U.S. presidential election even if they are untrue," the Daily Mail writes.
"To the extent that anything in the Daily Mail's article was interpreted as stating or suggesting that Mrs. Trump worked as an 'escort' or in the 'sex business,' that she had a 'composite or presentation card for the sex business,' or that either of the modeling agencies referenced in the article were engaged in these businesses, it is hereby retracted, and the Daily Mail newspaper regrets any such misinterpretation," it said.
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