First lady Melania Trump, pictured here at the Freedom Ball on January 20, has agreed to a settlement in a defamation lawsuit she filed last summer against a Maryland blogger. As part of the agreement, the blogger, Webster Tarpley, issued an apology and agreed to pay an unspecified sum to the first lady. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A blogger in Maryland has agreed to apologize to first lady Melania Trump and pay an undisclosed amount of money for writing "false and defamatory" statements online about her last summer.
Webster Griffin Tarpley reached an agreement with Trump's lawyers about a blog post from last August, in which he asserted that the first lady previously worked as an escort and was suffering from a nervous breakdown as a result of President Donald Trump's campaign.
"I posted an article ... that was replete with false and defamatory statements about her," Tarpley said in a statement provided by Trump's attorneys. "I had no legitimate factual basis to make these false statements and I fully retract them.
"I acknowledge that these false statements were very harmful and hurtful to Mrs. Trump and her family, and therefore I sincerely apologize to Mrs. Trump, her son, her husband and her parents for making these false statements."
Trump filed a $150 million suit in September against Tarpley. Britain-based Mail Media, the parent company of the Daily Mail, was also sued for publishing similar claims. On Monday, Trump's attorneys refiled the libel suit against Mail Media in New York Supreme Court.
Tarpley, 71, previously stated in a blog post last year that the defamation suit was "without merit," but in August, he retracted his original story, writing that although he did not start the rumors about Melania Trump, he should have kept "a healthy distance between innuendo and fact."