August 22, 2016

Charles Harder, the attorney who represented Hulk Hogan and others in their lawsuits against Gawker Media, is now taking legal action against Politico, The Week, The Daily Mail and other publications on behalf of Melania Trump.

Melania Trump has notified the news organizations of her intent to take action based on “false and defamatory” statements, Harder told Poynter in an email:

“Mrs. Trump has placed several news organizations on notice of her legal claims against them, including Daily Mail among others, for making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an ‘escort’ in the 1990s. All such statements are 100% false, highly damaging to her reputation, and personally hurtful. She understands that news media have certain leeway in a presidential campaign, but outright lying about her in this way exceeds all bounds of appropriate news reporting and human decency.”

The furor is partly over an article, published in The Daily Mail on Friday, that referenced a book which claimed a modeling agency Melania Trump worked for in Milan resembled “something like a gentleman’s club.”

But Melania Trump has taken exception to other articles, too, according to CNN Money. Among them: Articles published by Inquisitr and Bipartisan Report (since retracted), along with stories by The Week, Politico and LawNewz.

By putting the news organizations “on notice,” Harder and Melania Trump are effectively threatening to sue if the articles in question aren’t corrected or retracted, according to CNN Money.

Harder, a prominent attorney based in Los Angeles, represented the ex-professional wrestler and others, including a hair-replacement company, against Gawker Media as the New York-based company was pelted with a raft of lawsuits that ultimately brought it to bankruptcy.

Much of the litigation was bankrolled by Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire who said the lawsuits were comeuppance for articles he perceived as “bullying” and “damaging.”

This story has been updated.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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