Freedom of speech upheld in Trump case
In what amounted to little more than a sordid attempt for fame and fortune, aging porn star Stormy Daniels came out of the woodwork with sexual allegations following President Donald Trump’s emergence as a presidential contender.
But in a blow to Daniels’ ambitions, a judge ruled this week that she must pay over $290,000 in compensation for the cost of legal fees Trump spent in the defamation lawsuit she brought against him over one of his tweets.
In October, a federal judge in Los Angeles said the president’s tweets were protected by the freedom of speech clause of the US constitution, which saw Daniels lose her defamation case.
The tweet in question read:
‘A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!’
Soon after the ruling, Trump’s lawyers filed nearly $800,000 in legal fees and sanctions. Yet, in the latest ruling US District Judge James Otero awarded a fraction of that amount.
Otero’s ruling covered most of Trump’s legal costs, but only $1,000 in sanctions which were sought by Trump’s lawyers.
Charles Harder, one of Trump’s lawyers said this in a statement:
‘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.’
If like many you are sitting back, and questioning what $800,000 in legal fees means to the president of the United States — it’s literally chump change.
But we fail to remember the extraordinary nature of the defamation case. In court papers, Trump’s leading lawyer Charles Harder, wrote: ‘This action is virtually unprecedented in American legal history.’
‘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,’ it read.
In response, Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti suggested in a statement that the attorneys’ fees in the defamation case were of little importance in Daniels’ broader litigation battle with the US President.
Meanwhile, Daniels has appeared at court separately to appeal the validity of a $130,000 hush money agreement regarding an encounter between her and Trump she claims happened over a decade ago.
Trump adamantly denies the two had an affair, saying the money she received was paid to stop her spreading ‘false and extortionist accusations.’