Donald Trump may not be planning to sue People over the magazine's story accusing him of sexual assault, but his wife Melania apparently is.
At 7:15 p.m. on Thursday night, Melania tweeted a copy of a letter bearing the return address of her lawyer, Charles Harder, and addressed to People editorial director Jess Cagle and People writer Natasha Stoynoff, who wrote a first-person account about Donald Trump forcibly kissing her at Mar-a-Lago in 2005.
Harder — who represented Hulk Hogan in his suit against Gawker, which was funded by Trump supporter Peter Thiel, and has sent threatening letters on Melania's behalf before — wrote that Stoynoff's account contained "actionable" falsehoods (though it did not call the article defamatory). The specific passage Melania Trump disputes: the account of the writer bumping into Melania and having a brief conversation with her outside of Trump Tower.
"The true facts are these: Mrs. Trump did not encounter Ms. Stoynoff on the street, or have any conversation with her. The two are not friends and were never friends or even friendly," Harder wrote.A complete copy of the letter is here, and it is reprinted in full in the above Politico article.
The letter, which Politico notes uses the term "actionable," rather than "defamatory," does not specify what causes of action Melania Trump has against People. Melania's attorney contends that the statement gives rise to "claims of damages," but it is unclear how the mere statement that Melania recognized and said hello to Stoynoff is damaging in any way, even if it is false.
The letter states the vague threat that People's failure to retract the statements and issue an apology "will require Mrs. Trump to consider her legal options." Perhaps Melania and her attorneys should have considered the legal options before writing the letter, as Melania's legal options seem to be nonexistent.