Trump Wants Stormy Daniels to Pay Twice for Her Failed Lawsuit

By Bloomberg 4 December 2018
epa06673909 Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford) speaks to the press, as her attorney Michael Avenatti looks on, outside of federal court in New York City, New York, USA, 16 April 2018. Cohen's hotel room, apartment and office were raided last week by federal authorities reportedly as part of an investigation into possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations. EPA-EFE/PETER FOLEY

Suing President Donald Trump and losing may prove costly for Stormy Daniels.

The adult movie star whose real name is Stephanie Clifford could be hit with a bill for as much as $778,806 after she alleged that Trump defamed her when he accused her of a “total con job” in a tweet and a judge concluded the president was just exercising his free speech rights.

It turns out the president doesn’t just want full reimbursement for his attorney fees. He’s asking a Los Angeles federal judge to make Clifford pay double to deter future frivolous lawsuits.

At a hearing Monday, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero didn’t tip his hand as to how he’ll rule after Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, called the attorney fee request “gross and excessive,” and then labeled the sanction demand “absolutely absurd and outrageous.”

Stormy’s Libel Case Over Trump’s ‘Con Job’ Tweet Is in Peril

But the judge did question whether Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harding, billed too many hours — almost 600 — to defend the president. And Otero asked Harding to show him other cases based on Texas law — which applies in this case because that’s where Clifford hails from — to support making her pay double.

Whatever the judge decides, he’s still handling a bigger case that Clifford brought against Trump to challenge the validity of a $130,000 “hush payment” deal she struck with Trump’s longtime fixer Michael Cohen before the 2016 presidential election.

And even if Clifford is ordered to pay the full amount Trump seeks for her failed defamation case, it won’t be as much as the $798,779 Trump University was ordered to pay a former student for a failed libel suit in 2015 after she accused Trump’s namesake school of fraud. DM


Support DAILY MAVERICK & get FREE UBER vouchers every month

An increasingly rare commodity, quality independent journalism costs money, though not nearly as much as its absence can cost global community. No country can live and prosper without truth - that's why it matters.

Every Daily Maverick article and every Scorpio exposé is proof of our dedication to this unshakeable mission. Investing in our news media is by far the most effective investment into South Africa's future.

You can support Independent and Investigative journalism by joining Maverick Insider. If you contribute R150 or more per month you will receive R100 back in UBER vouchers. EVERY MONTH until October 2019.

So, if you'd like to help and do something meaningful for yourself and your country, then sign up to become a Maverick Insider. Together we can Defend Truth.


NPA’s To-Do-List signals testing times ahead for Shamila Batohi

By Stephen Grootes

Identical twins can be distinguished by their fingerprints.