A federal judge ordered adult film star Stormy Daniels to pay nearly $300,000 in President Donald Trump’s legal fees after her defamation lawsuit against him was thrown out in October.
US District Judge James Otero ruled that Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to pay $293,052 in fees, court costs, and sanctions in the lawsuit, in which Daniels accused Trump of defamation for suggesting that Daniels lied about being threatened to stay quiet about their alleged affair, HuffPost reported.
Daniels claimed that an unknown man approached her as she carried her young daughter in a parking lot and warned her to stay quiet about the alleged affair. Trump wrote that her claims were a “total con job” and accused her of “playing the Fake News Media for Fools.”
Otero said the president’s tweet was protected by the First Amendment, adding that “the tweet in question constitutes ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ normally associated with politics and public discourse in the United States.”
Trump’s legal team had requested Daniels pay nearly $800,000 but Otero rejected the request.
“Ultimately, Defendant’s counsel did not need to spend as much time as they did conducting legal research and compiling factual exhibits that would not properly be before this Court,” the judge wrote.
Avenatti appeals ruling: Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti has filed an appeal in the case and insisted on Tuesday that Daniels would “never have to pay a dime.”
“Not one penny. It is the end of the first quarter, not the end of the game,” Avenatti wrote on Twitter. “And if you actually read any of the filings in the [nondisclosure agreement] case, you would realize they are going to owe at least $1,500,000.”
Daniel’s other lawsuit moves forward: Daniels is also suing Trump over a nondisclosure agreement that barred her from speaking about the alleged tryst during the 2016 campaign. She claims the deal was invalid because Trump did not sign it.
Trump attorney declares total victory: Trump attorney Charles Harder, the lawyer who brought down Gawker and sued the Daily Mail on behalf of Melania Trump, declared that the ruling was a complete win despite not getting the amount they requested.
“The court’s order, along with the court’s prior order dismissing Stormy Daniels’ defamation case against the president, together constitute a total victory for the president, and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels in this case,” Harder told Reuters.