Adult film actress Stormy Daniels must pay $US292,000 to reimburse U.S. President Donald Trump for legal fees he spent defending himself in a defamation lawsuit she brought against him over a tweet.
Ms Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, lost her defamation lawsuit in October, with a federal judge in Los Angeles saying the President’s tweet was protected by the freedom of speech clause of the U.S. constitution.
Following that ruling, Mr Trump’s attorneys requested nearly $US800,000 in legal fees and sanctions, but U.S. District Judge James Otero, in his latest ruling, awarded a fraction of the sum.
Judge Otero’s ruling awarded Mr Trump most of the legal costs his attorneys had sought, but only $US1,000 in sanctions.
“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,” Charles J. Harder, the president’s legal counsel, said in a statement.
“The court’s order,” Harder said, “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.”
Ms Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, suggested in a statement that the attorneys’ fees in the defamation case were of small importance in Ms Daniels’ broader litigation battle with Mr Trump.
Ms Daniels has gone to court separate from the defamation lawsuit to challenge the validity of a $US130,000 hush money agreement over a tryst she claimed she and Mr Trump had more than a decade ago.
She has also written a “tell-all” book about Mr Trump called Full Disclosure.
Mr Trump has denied he had an affair with Ms Daniels, saying she was paid to stop “false and extortionist accusations”.
Ms Daniels sued Mr Trump for defamation after he denied her assertion that she had a sexual encounter with him in 2006 and disputed her account that she was threatened in 2011 for agreeing to a press interview about the alleged encounter.