News and Commentary

Stormy Daniels ‘Hush Money’ Lawsuit Dismissed

The porn star who has vowed to take down Donald Trump has seen another one of her lawsuits against him dismissed. In December, a judge ordered porn star Stormy Daniels to pay nearly $300,000 in legal fees after her frivolous defamation suit against the president was thrown out. On Thursday, another judge dismissed another lawsuit Daniels filed against Trump, this one asking to be released from the infamous nondisclosure agreeement she signed in 2016 promising not to discuss her alleged one-night affair with Trump years ago.

In exchange for $130,000, Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) agreed just weeks ahead of the 2016 election that she would not publicly discuss her alleged adulterous tryst with Trump back in 2006. It is for this nondisclosure agreement, as well as another with former Playmate Karen McDougal, that Trump’s former “fixer” Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws.

Despite having received the money, Daniels quickly sought to violate the agreement, repeatedly appearing on television in 2017 to tease her big reveal of what supposedly happened that night. She eventually aired it all and included some rather specific details in her tell-all book, which enjoyed a bunch of free press due to the massive media coverage Daniels and her celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti received.

“The Court grants Defendants’ Motions and holds that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the only remaining cause of action in Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint, the cause of action for declaratory relief,” Judge S. James Otero of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles wrote in his ruling Thursday, remanding the case back to state court. “The move back to state court essentially kills the high-profile case,” Deadline reports.

The legal argument behind the case, Otero argued, was moot because Daniels has not been held to the terms of the NDA, Trump making clear in September that he would not enforce it. “Indeed, Ms. Daniels and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, have spoken freely about the arrangement since the filing last March,” The New York Times reports. “The lawsuit led to escalating national attention that culminated in Mr. Cohen’s pleading guilty to related campaign-finance crimes last summer.”

Both parties have declared victory in the case. Trump’s lawyer Charles Harder said in a statement to Deadline: “The US District Court confirmed today that the claim against the President has no basis in law. Combined with the attorneys’ fees and sanctions award in the President’s favor totaling $293,000, the President has achieved total victory.”

Avenatti, as usual, took to Twitter to claim victory despite suffering a technical defeat: “Yet again, lots of misreporting going on. Be clear: The Court specifically found that Stormy received everything she asked for in the lawsuit — she won. How people can claim this is a ‘loss’ after we forced Trump and Cohen to cave and Cohen has been convicted, etc. is a mystery.”

Daniels’ loss in court for the defamation case was a whole lot harder to spin, as it left her with a bill more than double the amount of the NDA.

“The U.S. District Court today ordered Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) to pay President Trump $292,052.33 to reimburse his attorneys’ fees (75% of his total legal bill), plus an additional $1,000 in sanctions to punish Daniels for having filed a meritless lawsuit against the President designed to chill his free speech rights,” the president’s lawyer said in a statement after the ruling. “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.”

Related: Stormy Daniels: Avenatti Sued Trump Against My Wishes, Refused To Give Info On How Crowdfunding Money Was Being Spent

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