Published: Wed, December 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Judge orders Stormy Daniels to pay Trump almost $300,000

Judge orders Stormy Daniels to pay Trump almost $300,000

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered adult film star Stormy Daniels to pay President Donald Trump nearly $300,000 in legal fees in connection with her failed defamation lawsuit against him, but he declined to award the full amount they requested or to add any sanctions beyond a token penalty of $1,000.

"The US District Court today ordered Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) to pay President Trump $293,052.33 to reimburse his attorneys' fees (75 percent of his total legal bill), plus an additional $1,000 in sanctions to punish Daniels for having filed a meritless lawsuit against the President created to chill his free speech rights", Charles J. Harder, the president's legal counsel, said in a Tuesday statement.

Daniels's attorney Michael Avenatti said in a tweet after the latest ruling that his client planned to appeal and will likely never have to pay a dime.

"A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools", Trump wrote about Daniels in April after she said an unnamed man had made a threat against her in 2011. A federal judge in Los Angeles on Tuesday awarded Trump 25 percent less than what he requested for his lawyer and said steep sanctions aren't necessary on top of the "substantial" fee award.

She sued Trump for defamation after he responded to the allegation by tweeting: "A sketch years later about a nonexistent man".

Avenatti said it wasn't a victory, telling the Daily Beast that it was less than half of what Harder wanted, also saying he would appeal the ruling.

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Daniels is locked in a legal battle against Trump and his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

In response, Avenatti filed a defamation suit on Daniels's behalf against Trump.

Trump's attorney, Charles Harder, had asked for a total of almost $780,000 from the adult films actress - $389,000 in attorney fees and another $389,000 in sanctions in a hearing last week. She claimed that she was paid $130,000 in exchange for her silence and that she was physically intimidated to not speak about the alleged affair.

Avenatti's text referenced Daniels's still-pending lawsuit against Trump that seeks damages in connection with a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA, that she has with the president.

"The Court agrees with Mr. Trump's argument because the tweet in question constitutes "rhetorical hyperbole" normally associated with politics and public discourse in the United States".

Daniels's lawyer Michael Avenatti told CNBC in a text message that, "Harder and Trump deserve each other because they are both dishonest".

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