London’s Daily Telegraph apologized to first lady Melania Trump on Saturday and said it had agreed to pay her “substantial damages” for publishing false statements regarding her family and her modeling career.
It was at least the third time that the first lady has successfully sued publications or online blogs over defamatory articles.
“We apologise unreservedly to The First Lady and her family for any embarrassment caused by our publication of these allegations,” the newspaper wrote Saturday. “As a mark of our regret we have agreed to pay Mrs. Trump substantial damages as well as her legal costs.”
The claims appeared last week in a cover story in its Saturday Magazine entitled “The mystery of Melania.”
The conservative British newspaper said the article should not have made the claim that Melania Trump was struggling in her modeling career before she met Donald Trump nor that she had advanced in her career due to his help.
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“We accept that Mrs. Trump was a successful professional model in her own right before she met her husband and obtained her own modeling work without his assistance, ” the Telegraph said.
The newspaper also said she did not leave her design and architecture course at her university because of anything to do with completing her exam, as alleged in the article, “but rather because she wanted to pursue a successful career as a professional model.”
The apology also stated that the future first lady met Donald Trump in 1998, not in 1996, as it had published, and also wrongly claimed that her mother, father and sister had relocated to New York in 2005 to live in buildings owned by Trump. “They did not,” the newspaper said.
The Telegraph also cleaned up a couple of additional points:
• “Mrs Trump’s father was not a fearsome presence and did not control the family. “
• “The claim that Mrs. Trump cried on election night is also false.”
In 2017, Trump’s lawyer said she settled a defamation suit for a “substantial sum” against a Maryland blogger who wrote she once worked as an escort. The blogger, Webster Tarpley, also issued a statement in which he said that his article was “replete with false and defamatory statements about her,” Variety reported.
That same year, the Daily Mail and Mail Online agreed to pay significant damages, estimated to be under $3 million, to settle a libel claim.
A statement agreed upon by both parties said a double-spread newspaper article and an online posting about her by the Mail included “false and defamatory claims about [Mrs Trump] which questioned the nature of her work as a professional model and republished allegations that she provided services beyond simply modelling,” according to The Guardian.
The Mail also published an apology to the first lady “for any distress that our publication caused her.”