Melania Trump filed a libel lawsuit Thursday against the publisher of The Daily Mail, contending that it published an article that contained “false and defamatory statements,” including that she was once an escort.
In the lawsuit, which was filed in state court in Montgomery County, Md., Ms. Trump, the wife of Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, said the “defamatory statements” in the article “were attacks on her reputation which discouraged members of the public from having a positive opinion of her.”
The Daily Mail, a British tabloid, removed the article from its website, but by the time of the filing it had not issued a retraction and apology, according to the complaint. The Daily Mail published a retraction and apology after the lawsuit was filed Thursday.
Ms. Trump also sued Webster G. Tarpley, who runs the blog Tarpley.net, for a post published Aug. 2. Tarpley.net retracted the post on Aug. 22 andissued an apology to Ms. Trump.
Mr. Tarpley said in a statement that because Ms. Trump is a public figure, the bar is higher in proving a defamation claim than it is for someone who is not widely known. “Her lawsuit is a blatant attempt to intimidate not only me but journalists of all stripes into remaining silent with regard to public figures,” he said.
Charles J. Harder, a lawyer for Ms. Trump, said in a statement, “These defendants made several statements about Mrs. Trump that are 100 percent false and tremendously damaging to her personal and professional reputation.
“Their many lies include, among others, that Mrs. Trump supposedly was an ‘escort’ in the 1990s before she met her husband,” he added. “Defendants’ actions are so egregious, malicious and harmful to Mrs. Trump that her damages are estimated at $150 million.”
Mr. Harder represented the former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry G. Bollea, in the invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media that led to Gawker’s bankruptcy filing and subsequent sale to Univision. Peter Thiel, the billionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur who spoke at the Republican National Convention in July, acknowledged after the Hogan trial that he had secretly provided financing for the case and others against Gawker.
Mr. Harder said last month that he had informed several news outlets, including Politico, Inquisitr and Liberal America, that they could face legal action for articles they published that Ms. Trump called defamatory.
Ms. Trump filed the lawsuit in Maryland because Mr. Tarpley lives there and “based upon the transaction of business in the State of Maryland by Tarpley and Daily Mail,” according to the complaint.