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Melania Trump Appears in Court for Her Daily Mail Lawsuit

Melania Trump, the incoming first lady, appeared at a court hearing on Monday in her defamation lawsuit against the Daily Mail and a Maryland blogger.

The hearing in Rockville, Maryland was a scheduling conference, according to a statement from her attorney, but her case is unusual in that presidential candidates and their spouses rarely pursue libel lawsuits in the heat of a campaign.

“Mrs. Trump was not required to attend the court conference, but chose to do so, to meet the judge, meet opposing counsel, and show her commitment to the case,” said Charles Harder, her attorney.

“Mrs. Trump looks forward to seeing the case to a successful conclusion.”

In September, she sued Mail Media, parent company of the Daily Mail, and blogger Webster Tarpley over reports that she once worked as an escort.

The Daily Mail issued a retraction after the lawsuit was filed. Tarpley removed the post and published an apology, according to her lawsuit, but he later said that her litigation was a “direct affront to First Amendment principles.”

If the lawsuit is not settled before the inauguration, it would be rare for a first lady to pursue litigation while in office. She will have to prove that the stories were published with actual malice, either knowing they were false or with reckless disregard for the truth.

In late November, President-elect Donald Trump agreed to a $25 million settlement in a civil class action lawsuit brought by former students of Trump University.

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