The woman who Trump foes believe will bring down the president will have to pay him for the privilege first.
A judge ordered Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, to pay Donald Trump$292,000 in attorney fees in her defamation lawsuit against the president that was thrown out of court. Clifford will also have to pay the president $1,000 in sanctions.
Trump’s lawyer had asked for $389,000 in fees for defending the lawsuit and for an equal amount in sanctions to deter Clifford from filing “frivolous” claims. A federal judge in Los Angeles on Tuesday awarded Trump 25 percent less than what he requested for his lawyer and said steep sanctions aren’t necessary on top of the “substantial” fee award.
Clifford is suit-happy and her sleaze lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has indulged her every step of the way. “They received less than one half what they asked for because the request was gross and excessive,” Avenatti said in an email after the ruling.
Most people would think it not near enough.
The defamation lawsuit grew out of a fantastical story told by Daniels earlier this year:
Earlier this year, Clifford said she was threatened by an unknown man in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 for agreeing to cooperate with a magazine article about a tryst she says she had with Trump in 2006. After her lawyer released a composite sketch of the man, Trump accused Clifford in an April tweet of “a total con job” concerning a “nonexistent man.”
U.S. District Judge James Otero threw out Clifford’s lawsuit in November, saying Trump’s “defaming” tweet was protected free speech.
In Stormy Daniels; case, “Deep Throat” takes on a whole new meaning.
Clifford has another defamation suit pending against Trump that will now almost certainly be thrown out. And she has a suit challenging the non-disclosure agreement she signed with Cohen. That case is moot since Trump says he won’t enforce it. But the non-disclosure agreement and the payments that accompanied it will probably play a prominent role in Trump’s fate going forward.