Appeals court orders Stormy Daniels to pay Trump an additional $121,973
Just when all hope was fading away, a very thin silver lining appeared in a California court almost 3,000 miles from the Manhattan courthouse where Trump appeared.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals awarded President Trump a significant victory in his effort to recoup additional legal fees from Stormy Daniels, who filed and lost a defamation case against him.
Daniels was ordered to pay Trump's attorneys a little over $120,000 in legal fees.
The following is an excerpt from the order:
The court awarded attorneys' fees to appellee Donald J. Trump under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 27.009(a)(1), attorneys' fees in the amount of $121,972.56 are awarded in favor of appellee Donald J. Trump and against appellant Stephanie Clifford.
President Trump had requested the amount the court awarded for 183.35 hours of work by Harder LLP and the Dhillon Law Group in response to Daniels's appeal.
That amount awarded was in addition to over $500,000 in court-ordered payments to Trump attorneys she's already been ordered to pay.
So where did this begin?
Back then, Daniels was working closely with disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti.
The former porn actor had filed the suit in 2018, claiming that President Trump had defamed her by publicly mocking her accusation that an unidentified man had threatened her and her daughter over an abandoned In Touch Magazine story where she claimed she had an affair with Trump during a celebrity golf tournament in 2006.
Daniels had claimed that the man approached her saying, "Leave Trump alone. Forget the story" and "That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom" in reference to her infant daughter.
Avenatti even released an artist's sketch depicting the man who Daniels claimed threatened her.
President Trump ridiculed Daniels' claims in a 2018 tweet, calling it "a sketch years later about a nonexistent man" and "a total con job." This is what prompted Daniels's lawsuit.
A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)! https://t.co/9Is7mHBFda— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2018
Dismissing the lawsuit in October 2018, district judge S. James Otero said Trump's statement was protected by the First Amendment and was rhetorical hyperbole that is common in politics.
The following is a key except Otero’s ruling:
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. The First Amendment protects this type of rhetorical statement.
Otero ordered Daniels to pay Trump's legal fees under a statute intended to curb so-called strategic lawsuits against public participation. The amount was roughly $293,000.
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, appealed against the ruling and lost again. This time, she was ordered to pay another $245,000 as legal fees for Trump's lawyers' efforts.
Clearly, Daniels hasn't heard of the adage "if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."
Daniels filed a third appeal, this one challenging the amounts the court had ordered her to pay. She argued that the claim that her opposition was "unreasonable and excessive is not well-founded."
The court declined her request again, agreeing that "Trump's attorneys reasonably spent the requested 183.35 hours preparing a motion to dismiss, a reply to the opposition to the motion, two extension motions, the answering brief, and the fee application."
Trump attorney Harmeet Dhillon celebrated the ruling in a tweet Tuesday, saying:
Congratulations to President Trump on this final attorney fee victory in his favor this morning. Collectively, our firm obtained over $600,000 in attorney fee awards in his favor in the meritless litigation initiated by Stormy Daniels. https://t.co/ld7SVvZOp6 pic.twitter.com/1b5P3flxFb— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) April 4, 2023
When she lost the first round, Daniels claimed that Avenatti had filed the suit against her will.
Avenatti was found guilty last year of wire fraud and identity theft for wrongly pocketing about $300,000 of the $800,000 advance Daniels was paid for her book, Full Disclosure. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison last year for stealing money from clients and for tax fraud.
Last year, Daniels tweeted that she would rather go to jail than give Trump a penny. Unless someone steps in to save her, she may really end up in jail.
Help is unlikely to be on the way because her purpose has already been served.
The Democrats and their P.R. wing masquerading as the mainstream media used Daniels's name and linked it to Trump, knowing that the sleaze associated with a porn actor would hurt Trump.
The Democrats do not need her anymore.
If she ends up in jail, they will try to blame Trump for it and make her appear as the victim.
So is Daniels a victim and a pawn in this sinister game played by the Democrats?
She certainly is a pawn, but a willing pawn. She emphatically is not a victim. Daniels knew exactly what she was doing when she entered this game.
She was hoping to profit by being part of the avalanche of attacks against President Trump following Trump's election.
She secured interviews on national TV and even managed to ink a book deal. Unfortunately for Daniels, her lawyer happened to be a bigger crook. Avenatti forged Daniels's signature on a document that led to her literary agent sending book funds to an account that he controlled.
Stormy Daniels suffering a loss almost simultaneously while a baseless lawsuit connected to her has caused such a storm in New York is ironic and brought some smiles on an otherwise dark day.