Hulk Hogan's lawyer in Gawker case is helping Melania Trump sue Daily Mail over escort story

Illustration based on ’90s Melania Trump photo by Alé de Basse­ville

In a Maryland Circuit Court today, Melania Trump filed a complaint against the publisher of the Daily Mail tabloid over the August 19 article "Naked photoshoots, and troubling questions about visas that won't go away: The VERY racy past of Donald Trump's Slovenian wife."

Politico first broke news on August 22 that Melania was considering taking legal action over the implication she was a sex worker who scammed her way into the country. Why is everyone nitpicking the legality of her immigration process, decades ago? Her husband's entire presidential platform is ostensibly about wiping out illegal immigration and deporting 11 million immigrants who are not as sexy or white as Melania Trump.

And who's representing the wife of the Republican nominee for U.S. President, in her Mail Media lawsuit? None other than Charles Harder, the same attorney who represented Hulk Hogan in the case against Gawker. That case was backed by pro-Trump VC Peter Thiel, who recently backed a new litigation financing startup. Hogan won that case, which involved Gawker publishing his sex tape. Hogan's landmark victory bankrupted Gawker Media with a $140 million verdict, and Univision later bought pretty much everything except the cursed Gawker.com.

The New York Times has a most interesting profile up today about the man who ran the escort service I mean modeling agency for which Melania worked. Paolo Zampolli and his modeling agency helped secure her immigration visa.

The Financial Times has an interesting profile of Charles Harder as this week's most interesting person: “Hollywood’s favourite lawyer.”

Photoshop illustration based on original portrait of Melania Trump by Alé de Basse­ville

Photoshop illustration based on original portrait of Melania Trump by Alé de Basse­ville

Melania is also suing blogger Webster Tarpley, who operates the blog tarpley.net. Mr. Tarpley is based in Maryland, and has already issued an apology and a retraction for the item he published about Melania. They're suing him anyway.

Nude “model” photographs of Melania Trump from the January 1996 issue of Max Magazine have also been making the rounds, shot by Alé de Basse­ville during what the publications suggest were her days as an escort.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

The Daily Mail covered Trump's journey to New York in the mid-1990s and raised questions about her past based on "highly-charged, lesbian-themed, nude photographs," the exact timing of when she traveled to the U.S. on a visa, and her time working for a modeling agency. The article relied on the work of a Slovenian journalist who had co-authored an authorized biography of Ms. Trump as well as a report in a Slovenian magazine to make the claim that her modeling agency was run by a New York entrepreneur, who also ran an escort agency for wealthy clients.

The article stated, "What Melania's [composite card] looked like only the people involved know, but it is no coincidence she got a rich husband."

According to Trump's lawsuit, "The statements of fact in the Daily Mail Article are false. Plaintiff did legitimate and legal modeling work for legitimate business entities and did not work for any 'gentleman's club' or 'escort' agencies. Plaintiff was not a sex worker, escort or prostitute in any way, shape or form, nor did she ever have a composite or presentation card for the sex business. Plaintiff did not come to the United States until 1996. Thus, Plaintiff did not, and could not have participated in a photo shoot in the United States or met her current husband in the United States prior to that time."