Melania Trump has won a “substantial” amount of money in a settlement with a Maryland blogger who published claims that Melania once worked as an escort, the New York Post reported.
“The first lady of the United States has settled her lawsuit against Webster Griffin Tarpley of Maryland,” said Matthew Blackett, one of Melania’s attorneys.
“Mr. Tarpley has issued the attached retraction and apology to Mrs. Trump and her family, and agreed to pay her a substantial sum as a settlement,” Blackett said in a statement.
In his statement obtained by the Post, Tarpley said he posted an article “replete with false and defamatory statements” about Melania without any “legitimate factual basis” and apologized to the first lady.
The settlement comes less than two weeks after Montgomery County Circuit Judge Sharon Burrell rejected arguments by Tarpley’s lawyers that the suit should be dismissed, the Wrap reported.
Lawyers for Tarpley argued that the lawsuit failed to meet the standard for “actual malice” regarding public figures.
“The court finds the plaintiff has stated a claim for defamation,” Burrell said. “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.”
Melania sued Tarpley and the Daily Mail in two different jurisdictions in September over a story that claimed Melania worked for a modeling agency where the models also worked as escorts, inaccurately painting her as a prostitute.
Melania re-filed one of her suits against the Daily Mail in New York on Monday after a judge dismissed the Maryland suit on jurisdictional grounds, the Hill reported.
The other lawsuit is pending in the United Kingdom over the article published in the publication’s print version.