Stormy Daniels defamation suit against Trump tossed out

President Donald Trump scored a legal victory Monday against porn star Stormy Daniels when a federal US judge rejected her defamation suit against him.

Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — still has a separate lawsuit against the president linked to $130 000 in hush money she was paid by Trump’s lawyer shortly before the November 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about an alleged affair.

US District Judge S. James Otero in Los Angeles tossed out the defamation suit Daniels filed earlier this year after Trump claimed on Twitter that the adult film actress had invented threats to silence her over her claims the pair slept together more than a decade ago.

“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,” Otero wrote in his ruling.

“The First Amendment (of the US Constitution) protects this type of rhetorical statement.”


Trump’s lawyer Charles Harder called the ruling a “total victory for President Trump and total defeat for Stormy Daniels.”

Otero ruled that the billionaire Trump is entitled to have his lawyers’ fees paid as part of the ruling.

The amount will be determined later, Harder said.

Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti — who has strongly suggested he is ready to take on Trump in the 2020 elections — later posted on his Twitter account a notice of appeal with the Ninth Circuit court.

Hush payments violated law 

Daniels sued after Trump tweeted in April about her release of a sketch of a man she said warned her in a Las Vegas parking lot not to talk about their tryst.

“A sketch years later about a nonexistent man,” Trump tweeted. “A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it!),” Trump tweeted.

The president’s former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in August to campaign finance violations in the form of hush payments during the 2016 campaign to two women who alleged they had affairs with Trump.

He said he had paid them at Trump’s request.

Although Cohen did not name the women, they were believed to be Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Because the hush payments were intended to influence the outcome of the elections, they violated US laws governing campaign contributions, making Trump an — as yet —unindicted co-conspirator.

The president’s story about Cohen’s payments has changed multiple times.

In September, Cohen’s lawyer said that, following the August guilty plea, Cohen provided “critical information” to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election and whether Trump’s campaign colluded.

Separately, Trump was sued for defamation in 2017 by Summer Zervos, who was a contestant on Trump’s former reality TV show “The Apprentice.”

She claims Trump lied when responding to her allegations that he forcibly kissed and groped her in 2007.

US media reported in September that Trump would provide sworn written responses in the case.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Agency
External source

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Matrics fail at critical subjects

The basic education minister talks of quality passes achieved by the class of 2020, but a closer look at the results tells a different story

Step-aside guidelines are not about Ace, says Mathews Phosa

The guidelines must be ‘timeless, uniting and not capable of being abused,’ says ANC veteran

More top stories

Sisulu dissolves housing agency board, again

The HDA is once again under administration, and its acting chief executive gets to stay on

Pangolins pushed to the brink of extinction

The trafficking of scales is no longer a ‘niche’ criminal activity, but a serious and organised crime that threatens to make all eight species extinct within 20 years

Durban residents want answers after refinery emission

People living near the refinery were subjected to two hours of dirty smoke from the refinery, the South Durban Environmental Alliance said on Saturday.

Parents ‘key to best grade 12 results’

For the past four years, the matric results in Tshwane South has been the leading district in Gauteng. The formula to success has been involving the parents
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…