LawNewz.com was among 10 media organizations hit with a letter from Melania Trump‘s lawyer, Charles Harder, threatening legal action. While several media organizations have reported that their letter was in response to stories alleging Melania was an “escort,” (and some have apologized already for that) we did not report such story on our website. Instead, our letter was related to a legal opinion article from August 4, 2016. In the piece, attorney and LawNewz.com columnist Elura Nanos questioned whether Melania Trump committed visa fraud.
Nanos analyzed, based on Trump’s public statements, whether she had worked in the United States legally, and if she had the proper visas to do so. Nanos concluded that Melania Trump, may have, in fact, committed visa fraud, and also pointed to Melania Trump’s seemingly conflicting explanations regarding that time period. Nanos was concerned that Mrs. Trump was not telling the truth.
On Monday, we received a legal letter demanding an apology and retraction for this story from Trump’s attorney, Charles Harder. He listed nine lines in the story they found objectionable.
Mr. Harder also wrote, in part:
The true facts are as follows: Mrs. Trump did not commit visa fraud, nor is she lying about it. Mrs. Trump arrived in the United States for the first time in August 1996. Thus, she did not, and could not have, participated in a photo shoot in the United States prior to that time. Moreover, as Mrs. Trump has previously stated, she has been in full compliance with all of the immigration laws of the United States at all times. In particular, she obtained all necessary work visas prior to and during all work that she performed in the United States, before she became a permanent U.S. resident and, later, a U.S. citizen.
In response to the legal demand letter, we sent a list of questions to Mr. Harder regarding the specifics of Mrs. Trump’s legal status. For example we wanted to know if Mrs. Trump ever stepped foot in the U.S prior to 1996. We also requested to know the type and a copy of Mrs. Trump’s work visa. While our writer, who is also an attorney, continues to maintain that even Melania’s public statements about her visa status remain irreconcilable, we removed two references to “lying” and “lies” from the headline and the article while we await Melania Trump’s response to our inquiry.