A lawyer representing Melania Trump, the wife of Republican nominee Donald Trump, said Monday that a recent Daily Mail report included “false and defamatory statements” that she worked for an escort service two decades ago.
“Mrs. Trump has placed several news organizations on notice of her legal claims against them, including Daily Mail among others, for making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an ‘escort’ in the 1990s,” attorney Charles Harder said in a statement.
“All such statements are 100% false, highly damaging to her reputation, and personally hurtful,” Harder continued. “She understands that news media have certain leeway in a presidential campaign, but outright lying about her in this way exceeds all bounds of appropriate news reporting and human decency.”
The Daily Mail, a British newspaper with a massive global online presence, published an article Friday examining whether Melania Trump began working a model in the United States in 1996, as she’s claimed, or in 1995, the year which recently published nude photographs were taken. The emergence of the photographs has raised questions about her biography and about her immigration status when she began working in the U.S.
Donald Trump, who has railed against undocumented immigrants throughout his campaign, said on Aug. 9 that his wife would hold a news conference “over the next couple of weeks” to address her compliance with immigration laws. No news conference has been scheduled.
The Daily Mail report also included recent claims in Slovenian magazine Suzy that Paolo Zampolli, who ran the modeling agency that employed Melania Trump early in her career, also ran a high-end escort service.
Zampolli denied the allegations as “f****** rubbish” to the Daily Mail. (Zampolli is known for playing a role in Melania Trump’s earlier career, telling this reporter that he brought her to the U.S. as a young model in 1996.)
A Daily Mail spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Harder has been in the headlines lately for another high-profile legal fight with a media company. He represented wrestler Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan) in his $140 million invasion-of-privacy case against Gawker Media, a lawsuit funded by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel that effectively killed the site Gawker.com on Monday.