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Daniels Ordered to pay Nearly $290,000 in Trump Legal Fees

Judge James Otero of California Heard the Case

By Sean Brown, December 11, 2018 5:40 pm

Porn star Stormy Daniels, legally know as Stephanie Clifford, has been ordered by a California judge to pay President Trump nearly $293,000 to cover his attorneys’ fees. This particular suit was related to a threat the actress said she endured when a man she did not recognize approached her in a Las Vegas parking lot and warned her to keep quiet about a 2006 nondisclosure agreement that related to an alleged affair between herself and Trump. When she released a drawing of the alleged threatener, Trump mocked her on Twitter, calling the composite sketch of the mystery man a “total con job.”

That’s when Daniels sued Trump for defaming her and the judge tossed that suit in October on free-speech grounds. “The court agrees with Mr. Trump’s argument,” wrote Los Angeles Judge James Otero, “because the tweet in question constitutes ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ normally associated with politics and public discourse in the U.S. The First Amendment protects this type of rhetorical statement.”

Now, Judge Otero has awarded Trump legal fees. Rejecting Trump’s attorney Charles Harder’s primary ask for $390,000 in fees, Otero deduced that a deduction of $100,000 was more reasonable, however, he did award another $1,000 in sanctions for the defamation suit.

Tweeting earlier today, Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti, who represents Daniels and has made a name for himself, said that the ruling “will never hold up on appeal.”

He also said, “If Stormy has to pay $300k to Trump in the defamation case (which will never hold up on appeal) and Trump has to pay Stormy $1,500,000 in the NDA case (net $1,200,000 to Stormy), how is this a Trump win?”

Harder fought hard to get back what he believed equated to the $390,000 in legal bills and even requested an equal amount in sanctions in order to prevent Daniels from emerging as a “repeat filer of frivolous defamation cases.”

He also said in court, “this action is virtually unprecedented in American legal history,” and “not only brought a meritless claim for defamation against the sitting president of the United States, but she also has engaged, along with her attorney, in massive national publicity.”

Daniels first sued the president earlier this year in an effort to break the nondisclosure agreement she believes she was forced to sign before the 2006 election. Trump has acknowledged that he did indeed pay her 130,000 to keep quiet about ‘something’, but hasn’t admitted to any claims of affair.

Along with Avenatti’s other statements, he has hinted that he will in turn sue the President for legal fees endured by him that “dwarfs exponentially” what Harder was awarded today.

Sean Brown

Before becoming a writer for the California Globe, Sean served as a Legislative Director in the New York City Council and is an NYU alumnus.
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