Melania Trump wins ‘substantial’ libel settlement for a British newspaper article based on a Trump-hating American journalist’s new book

There are quite a few news articles this morning about Melania Trump’s second libel triumph over a conservative British newspaper that published false derogatory tales about her past in Slovenia. But very few mentions of how the Daily Telegraph, known as a the “quality” conservative broadsheet in the UK got into such trouble.

Not the New York Times nor USA Today, nor Bloomberg, for example, ventured to explain what source led the Daily Telegraph to  end up repudiating so many of its contentions, and paying a lot of money, plus attorney’s fees, to Mrs. Trump and publish this:

Following last Saturday’s (Jan 19) Telegraph magazine cover story “The mystery of Melania”, we have been asked to make clear that the article contained a number of false statements which we accept should not have been published. Mrs Trump’s father was not a fearsome presence and did not control the family. Mrs Trump did not leave her Design and Architecture course at University relating to the completion of an exam, as alleged in the article, but rather because she wanted to pursue a successful career as a professional model. Mrs Trump was not struggling in her modelling career before she met Mr Trump, and she did not advance in her career due to the assistance of Mr Trump.

We accept that Mrs Trump was a successful professional model in her own right before she met her husband and obtained her own modelling work without his assistance. Mrs Trump met Mr Trump in 1998, not in 1996 as stated in the article. The article also wrongly claimed that Mrs Trump’s mother, father and sister relocated to New York in 2005 to live in buildings owned by Mr Trump. They did not. The claim that Mrs Trump cried on election night is also false.

We apologise unreservedly to The First Lady and her family for any embarrassment caused by our publication of these allegations. As a mark of our regret we have agreed to pay Mrs Trump substantial damages as well as her legal costs.

Official portrait

But from the British tabloid The Express, we learn that the source for the now-disappeared Telegraph story was:  “Golden Handcuffs: The Secret History of Trump’s Women by Nina Burleigh.” Ms. Burleigh already attained journalistic immortality of a sort by offering to perform oral sex on Bill Clinton in return for keeping abortion available.

“I would be happy to give him a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their Presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.”

Under American libel law, public figures such as the first lady are almost unable to win libel cases, but the UK is quite different in that regard. So, why she is not immunized from worry over a similar suit here, she probably has little to worry about from a court. But it is not exactly a sales tool to have your claims be repudiated and apologized for by a major newspaper in another country.

There are quite a few news articles this morning about Melania Trump’s second libel triumph over a conservative British newspaper that published false derogatory tales about her past in Slovenia. But very few mentions of how the Daily Telegraph, known as a the “quality” conservative broadsheet in the UK got into such trouble.

Not the New York Times nor USA Today, nor Bloomberg, for example, ventured to explain what source led the Daily Telegraph to  end up repudiating so many of its contentions, and paying a lot of money, plus attorney’s fees, to Mrs. Trump and publish this:

Following last Saturday’s (Jan 19) Telegraph magazine cover story “The mystery of Melania”, we have been asked to make clear that the article contained a number of false statements which we accept should not have been published. Mrs Trump’s father was not a fearsome presence and did not control the family. Mrs Trump did not leave her Design and Architecture course at University relating to the completion of an exam, as alleged in the article, but rather because she wanted to pursue a successful career as a professional model. Mrs Trump was not struggling in her modelling career before she met Mr Trump, and she did not advance in her career due to the assistance of Mr Trump.

We accept that Mrs Trump was a successful professional model in her own right before she met her husband and obtained her own modelling work without his assistance. Mrs Trump met Mr Trump in 1998, not in 1996 as stated in the article. The article also wrongly claimed that Mrs Trump’s mother, father and sister relocated to New York in 2005 to live in buildings owned by Mr Trump. They did not. The claim that Mrs Trump cried on election night is also false.

We apologise unreservedly to The First Lady and her family for any embarrassment caused by our publication of these allegations. As a mark of our regret we have agreed to pay Mrs Trump substantial damages as well as her legal costs.

Official portrait

But from the British tabloid The Express, we learn that the source for the now-disappeared Telegraph story was:  “Golden Handcuffs: The Secret History of Trump’s Women by Nina Burleigh.” Ms. Burleigh already attained journalistic immortality of a sort by offering to perform oral sex on Bill Clinton in return for keeping abortion available.

“I would be happy to give him a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their Presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.”

Under American libel law, public figures such as the first lady are almost unable to win libel cases, but the UK is quite different in that regard. So, why she is not immunized from worry over a similar suit here, she probably has little to worry about from a court. But it is not exactly a sales tool to have your claims be repudiated and apologized for by a major newspaper in another country.