News & Politics

Melania Trump Sues Montgomery County Blogger Along With Daily Mail

Melania Trump. Photograph by Flickr user Marc Nozell.

Melania Trump is suing a Maryland blogger along with the Daily Mail Online over a since-deleted story about her past the tabloid website published last month, a lawyer for the wife of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Thursday.

The blogger, Webster G. Tarpley, is named in the $150 million suit filed in the state circuit court for Montgomery County over an August 2 post that also claimed Melania Trump had been involved with an escort service in the 1990s. Both Tarpley’s post and the Daily Mail’s August 19 story cited a tabloid magazine published in Trump’s native Slovenia.

“These defendants made several statements about Mrs. Trump that are 100% false and tremendously damaging to her personal and professional reputation,” Trump’s attorney, Charles Harder, said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Harder is also the attorney who represented Hulk Hogan in the professional wrestler’s lawsuit over a sex tape that resulted in the bankruptcy of Gawker Media and the shuttering of its flagship website.

Trump started threatening legal action against the Mail and last week, even as both sites pulled down their stories about her. Tarpley also posted a “formal reaction” and apology.

Several other websites picked up on the tabloid story about Trump’s past but apologized and are not named in the suit. Tarpley is a curious figure to be swept up in the Trump family’s newest litigation, though. A Princeton-trained historian by trade, Webster G. Tarpley is an active conspiracy theorist, but not one given over supporting Donald Trump, who is no stranger to conspiracy theories himself. He has stated beliefs that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were the actions of a “rogue network,” and that the mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando this past June was a “false flag” operation designed to boost Trump, who he describes as a fascist seeking power.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.