First lady Melania Trump prevailed Friday in the first round of a $150 million libel suit she filed against a Maryland blogger over a report he published last summer about claims that Trump worked as a “high-end escort.”
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Sharon Burrell rejected arguments from lawyers for blogger Webster Tarpley to dismiss Trump’s suit for failing to meet the “actual malice” standard for public figures. The judge also turned down Tarpley’s effort to dismiss the suit under a Maryland law aimed at quickly shutting down bad-faith lawsuits intended to intimidate people speaking out on issues of public concern.
“The court finds the plaintiff has stated a claim for defamation,” Burrell ruled after hearing arguments on the issue in a Rockville courtroom. “The court believes most people, when they hear the words ‘high-end escort’ that describes a prostitute. There could be no more defamatory statement than to call a woman a prostitute.”