‘Stormy will never have to pay a dime because they owe her over $1 million in attorney’s fees and costs…’
(Nancy Dillon and Chris Sommerfeldt, New York Daily News) Porn star Stormy Daniels must dish out nearly $300,000 to compensate President Donald Trump for legal fees he racked up in her failed defamation lawsuit, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
The hefty $293,053 price tag includes $1,000 in sanctions that U.S. District Judge James Otero slapped on Daniels over her attempt to “chill” the president’s “free-speech rights,” according to Trump attorney Charles Harder.
“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,” Harder said.
Daniels, 39, sued Trump for defamation on April 30, two weeks after he accused her of fabricating a story about a man who allegedly confronted her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 and threatened her to keep quiet about her claims she had sex with the president in 2006.
In a tweet Trump posted on April 18, he dismissed a sketch Daniels had put out of the unidentified assailant as a “con job.”
A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)! https://t.co/9Is7mHBFda
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2018
Otero ultimately determined Trump had a First Amendment right to respond with his tweet and dismissed Daniels’ suit.
Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti shrugged off Otero’s payback order, claiming the legal fees his client is now on the hook for will pale in comparison to what Trump will owe Daniels over a separate lawsuit attempting to void a nondisclosure agreement she signed in exchange for $130,000 to keep quiet about their alleged tryst.
“Trump and Harder deserve each other because they are both dishonest,” Avenatti told the New York Daily News in a text message. “Stormy will never have to pay a dime because they owe her over $1 million in attorney’s fees and costs from the main NDA case.”
Trump had initially requested Daniels cough up $778,806—half of which would be in sanctions.
In his ruling, Otero said he found Harder’s $842 hourly rate reasonable but said the number of hours charged was highly excessive. He ended up lopping 25 percent off the requested attorney’s fee amount.
Otero also reasoned $1,000 in sanctions was plenty since Daniels appears to have learned her lesson not to file “meritless defamation claims,” based on the fact she hasn’t launched additional legal challenges even though Trump has kept up his “use of rhetorical hyperbole” on social media.
Moreover, the judge took a shot at Trump’s legal team for spending undue time compiling and submitting “extraneous evidence”—including a detailed list of Daniels’ adult film history.
This was “unnecessary to this Court’s decision-making,” Otero wrote.
(c)2018 New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.