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A lawyer for first lady Melania Trump argued in a lawsuit filed Monday that an article falsely alleging she once worked for an escort service hurt her chance to establish “multimillion dollar business relationships” during the years in which she would be “one of the most photographed women in the world.”

The suit, filed Monday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan against Mail Media, the owner of the Daily Mail, said the article published by the Daily Mail and its online division last August caused Trump’s brand, Melania, to lose “significant value” as well as “major business opportunities that were otherwise available to her.” The suit noted that the article had damaged Trump’s “unique, once in a lifetime opportunity” to “launch a broad-based commercial brand.”

“These product categories would have included, among other things, apparel accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care, skin care and fragrance,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed on Trump’s behalf by California attorney Charles Harder.

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Update from WaPo 

 

The new suit comes as Melania Trump continues to avoid the spotlight, taking an unusually low-profile approach thus far to her role as first lady. She has continued to live in New York and has moved slowly to hire a White House staff.

The language in the suit drew criticism immediately. Richard Painter, a White House ethics counsel under former president George W. Bush and a critic of President Trump’s decision to retain ownership of his real estate and branding empire while in office, said he was troubled by the clear suggestion in the suit that Melania Trump intended to make money from her public role. Painter said that as drafted, the suit “would appear to be an abuse of public office for private gain” by the Trumps.

On Tuesday, Painter said the new statements from Trump’s team “directly contradict the claims made in the complaint” and make the initial complaint misleading. “It should be immediately amended,” he said. Painter, a professor of legal ethics, is participating in a lawsuit claiming that President Trump’s relationship with his company violates a constitutional provision barring presidents from taking money or gifts from foreign ­governments.

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