News orgs paid Melania Trump for photos to be used in 'positive coverage': report

News orgs paid Melania Trump for photos to be used in 'positive coverage': report
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First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpEx-Melania Trump adviser raised concerns of excessive inauguration spending weeks before events: CNN The Hill's Morning Report - Trump moves green cards, citizenship away from poor, low-skilled White House seeks volunteers, musicians for Christmas celebrations MORE reportedly earned between $100,000 and $1 million in royalties from Getty Images in 2017 for the use of photos that under a licensing agreement could only be used in "positive coverage," according to a report by NBC News.

At least 12 news organizations last year used some of the photos, including Yahoo News, the Daily Mail, Fox News, Condé Nast and the Houston Chronicle.

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Several of the news organizations told NBC News that they were not aware that the photos, taken by Belgian photographer Regine Mahaux, were part of a licensing deal that profited the first lady. Several also said they were not aware of the deal that the photos were to be used for positive coverage, and some removed the images after being contacted by NBC.

NBC News was among the news organizations that used the photos. A spokesperson told NBC that it did not agree or sign a statement that the image would be used for positive coverage and that it did not know of the royalties going to the first lady.

One of the Mahaux photos also appeared in the 2017 calendar sold in the White House gift shop, according to NBC News, and another in the official guide book given to delegates at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

The photos were taken in 2010, 2011 and 2016 and featured Melania Trump, President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE and their son, Barron.

It's not clear exactly how much the first lady earned from the photos. President Trump’s financial disclosure forms, released earlier this year, show that the first lady earned between $100,000 and $1 million in royalties from Getty in 2017. 

While it is not unusual for celebrities to sign deals governing the use of photos, it is unusual for the first lady to be party to such an agreement. 

Getty Images told NBC News that additional details of the deal and payments to Melania Trump are confidential and declined to say if similar deals exist with other members of the Trump family.

A White House spokesperson directed NBC News to President Trump’s financial disclosure forms. Mahaux told NBC News that “everything is legal” and did not respond to further questions from the outlet.