LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A federal judge has ordered porn star Stormy Daniels to pay President Donald Trump nearly $300,000 in attorneys’ fees in her defamation case against the president, which was tossed out earlier this year.
U.S. District Judge James Otero in Los Angeles threw out the lawsuit by Daniels – whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford – in November, saying Trump’s “defaming” tweet was protected free speech.
In addition to paying $293,053 in legal fees, which amounts to roughly 75 percent of Trump’s total legal bill, Daniels – whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford – must also pay $1,000 in sanctions for attempting to “chill” the president’s “free speech rights”, Trump attorney Charles Harder said.
Clifford alleges she had an affair with Mr. Trump in 2006 and sued him in April after he said a composite sketch of a man she said threatened her in 2011 to keep quiet about an alleged affair with the real estate mogul was a “con job.”
In dismissing the suit, the judge said Mr. Trump’s tweet was a “hyperbolic statement” against a political adversary.
Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder, said it was a “total victory” for the president.
“No amount of spin or commentary by Stormy Daniels or her lawyer … can truthfully character today’s ruling in any way other than total victory for President Trump and total defeat for Stormy Daniels,” Harder said.
In a tweet Tuesday, Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said attorney fees are a minor issue in comparison to a separate legal battle pending in Otero’s court involving Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, over a Trump-Daniels non-disclosure agreement. A hearing in that case is scheduled for next month.
“Trump and his attorneys’ attempt to fool the public about the importance of the attorney fees in the defamation case, which are a fraction of
what they owe my client in the main NDA case, is an absolute joke,” Avenatti wrote. “People are smarter than that.”
The 47-year-old Avenatti was arrested Nov. 14 in Century City and booked on suspicion of felony domestic violence – an allegation he has repeatedly and vehemently denied. The District Attorney’s Office declined to file any charges against him, referring the case to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for consideration of possible misdemeanor charges.
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