Meredith McIver says the almost word-for-word lifting happened after Melania gave her passages, over the phone, from Michelle's speech. McIver says she "wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech."
As we first reported on Tuesday's "TMZ Live" ... Melania likes the First Lady and had watched some of her speeches for inspiration prior to her own speech in Cleveland.
Indeed, McIver says that's exactly what happened, but the mistake occurred because, "I did not check Mrs. Obama's speeches. This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant."
McIver has been a co-author on several of Donald Trump's books. She says she attempted to resign on Tuesday, but Donald told her people make "innocent mistakes" and said she could learn and grow from the experience.