And now, CNN reports a judge ruled on Friday that our new FLOTUS may move forward with a $150 million libel lawsuit against Maryland blogger Webster Griffin Tarpley, who Melania claims posted false and defamatory statements about her past.
It isn’t clear whether Donald Trump‘s wife’s lawsuits against other sites who ran the story, like The Daily Mail, will proceed.
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Sharon Burrell said in court re: Tarpley’s case:
“The court finds the plaintiff has stated a claim for defamation. 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.”
Tarpley’s attorney Danielle Giroux argued the blogger was simply reporting on rumors in his since-retracted post — rumors that were newsworthy for the public during the election:
“He did not say that Melania Trump was a high-class escort. What he said was there are rumors about that. He’s writing about the rumors and that, itself, is newsworthy.”
Trump’s attorney Charles Harder — who repped Hulk Hogan during that whole Gawker Media debacle — fired back by arguing that Tarpley endorsed the so-called “rumors” by referring to them as “widely known,” explaining:
“That’s not how the law works. You can’t print a rumor if it’s not true and it damages or harms someone’s reputation. That is textbook defamation.”
While the court is allowing the Tarpley case to continue, it’s TBD where the Daily Mail suit will fall, as the judge is trying to determine if Maryland is the appropriate jurisdiction for the lawsuit since the site is based in London.
We’ll of course keep you updated as we learn more.
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[Image via Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/WENN.]