A federal judge has ordered adult film star Stormy Daniels to pay $120,000 in legal fees to President Donald Trump’s lawyers after her defamation lawsuit against him was dismissed.
What was the lawsuit about?
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, sued Trump in April 2018 for calling her a “total con job” on Twitter. She claimed that he was implying that she had lied about being threatened by a man in 2011 to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump in 2006.
Trump denied having an affair with Daniels and said he did not know about the alleged threat. He also said he did not authorize his former lawyer Michael Cohen to pay Daniels $130,000 in hush money shortly before the 2016 presidential election.
Why was the lawsuit dismissed?
In October 2018, US District Judge James Otero dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that Trump’s tweet was “rhetorical hyperbole” protected by the First Amendment. He also said that Daniels failed to show that she suffered any damages or harm from the tweet.
Otero also said that Trump was entitled to recover his legal fees from Daniels, but did not specify the amount at the time.
How did Daniels and Trump react?
In December 2018, Otero ordered Daniels to pay $120,000 in legal fees to Trump’s lawyers, less than half of what they requested. He said that the amount was reasonable and that some of the fees claimed by Trump’s lawyers were “excessive and unnecessary”.
Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said they would appeal the ruling and still had other legal claims against Trump and Cohen. He also said that Daniels had raised over $500,000 from online donations to fund her legal battles.
Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder, said he was pleased with the ruling and that it was a “total victory” for Trump. He also said he would seek additional legal fees from Daniels for the appeal.