A Maryland blogger has settled a defamation lawsuit filed by First Lady Melania Trump for a “substantial sum” of money and issued an apology to the Trump family, according to a statement released by Trump’s attorneys on Tuesday morning.
Blogger Webster Tarpley admitted to Trump’s attorney’s: “I posted an article on August 2, 2016, about Melania Trump that was replete with false and defamatory statements about her.”
His statement continued, “I had no legitimate factual basis to make these false statements and I fully retract them. I acknowledge that these false statements were very harmful and hurtful to Mrs. Trump and her family, and therefore I sincerely apologize to Mrs. Trump, her son, her husband and her parents for making these false statements.”
The Hill reported that Tarpley published false allegations in August that the first lady worked for an escort service in the 1990s and suffered a “nervous breakdown” during the presidential campaign. After the piece was published, Tarpley issues a retraction, citing the post referenced “unfounded rumors and innuendo.”
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Tarpley indicated in his retraction, “While the tarpley.net editors, writers, and contributors did not generate said rumors, the briefing in question was not diligent in fact-checking or maintaining a healthy distance between innuendo and fact.”
In September, Mrs. Trump filed a defamation lawsuit in Maryland against the blogger and the U.K.-based Daily Mail for publishing the outrageous story.
It wasn’t until early this month that a Maryland judge tossed out the litigation against the Daily Mail based on jurisdictional grounds, ruling the lawsuit should have been filed in New York where Mail Media, Inc.’s corporate offices reside, says the report. However, the judge did rule that the case against Tarpley could move forward.
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Sharon Burrell gave this ruling: “The court believes most people — when they hear the words ‘high-end escort’ — that describes a prostitute. There could be no more defamatory statement than to call a woman a prostitute.”
On Monday, Melania Trump re-filed the $150 million lawsuit against Mail Media, Inc. in the New York state Supreme Court, claiming that the rumors damaged her ability to make “multimillion dollar business relationships” and other “major business opportunities.”
H/T: The Hill
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