A defamation lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court suggests that Melania Trump may have considered monetizing her role as first lady, but her lawyer says it's being "misinterpreted."
Melania is suing the Daily Mail, which published a 2016 article that claimed Melania used to work for an escort service, the Washington Post reports. Although the article was retracted, the suit claims "millions and millions of people around the world" read the statements when they were republished by other media outlets. Melania is asking for damages of $150 million or more.
A judge in Maryland dismissed a suit against the Daily Mail earlier this month on the grounds that it shouldn't have been filed in that state. Melania refiled in New York on Feb. 6.
According to the Associated Press, the suit claims Melania "had the unique, one-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person, as well as a former professional model, brand spokesperson and successful businesswoman, to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multi-million dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which Plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world." Those businesses could include fashion, beauty, and fragrances.
The suit doesn't claim that Melania would start these businesses while in the White House, but it does claim the article "impugned her fitness to perform her duties as First Lady of the United States" and caused her "significant humiliation in the community and emotional distress."
Melania's attorney, Charles Harder, told the Guardian that the claims in the suit are being misreported. "The First Lady has no intention of using her position for profit and will not do so. It is not a possibility. Any statements to the contrary are being misinterpreted," he said.