UPDATE, 5:25 PM: The way things are closing in for Donald Trump in Robert Mueller’s investigation, the former Celebrity Apprentice may need every dime of the nearly $300,000 he was awarded in attorney’s fees today in one of his battles with Stormy Daniels.
“The Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Defendant’s Motion, and orders Plaintiff to pay Defendant $293, 052.33 in attorneys’ fees, costs, and sanctions,” declared federal Judge James Otero today of the defamation matter. “This case shall close.”
The sum is actually about 75% of what Trump lawyer Charles Harder asked for from the plaintiffs plus a $1,000 in sanctions.
Besides the specific amount, today’s outcome was never really a surprise since the mid-October loss by the performer, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and her once possible Presidential candidate lawyer Michael Avenatti in the case they instigated back in late April.
Not to be confusion with the NDA case against Trump and his once bagman Michael Cohen over the stipulations put on Daniels over around $130,000 she was paid just before the 2016 election to stay quiet over a fling she had with the developer years beforehand, this case arose from an April 18 tweet by POTUS.
Of course, both lawyers went before the cameras in DTLA today, as you can see below:
Trump and his attorney’s attempt to fool the public about the importance of the attorneys’ fees in the defamation case, which are a fraction of what they owe my client in the main NDA case, is an absolute joke. People are smarter than that.https://t.co/oo3kkjVzPU via @YouTube
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) December 11, 2018
PREVIOUSLY, OCT 15 PM: Donald Trump’s tweets can sometimes move markets, antagonize domestic rivals and international allies and put the spotlight on friends and foes but turns out today that the social media platform cannot keep the President in court with Stormy Daniels. That was the case in the porn star’s defamation case against the former Celebrity Apprentice host, which she has already filed an appeal against a federal judge’s ruling of earlier Monday.
“In the Special Motion, Mr. Trump argues that the tweet at issue is a non-actionable opinion, not a statement of fact about Ms. Clifford,” said U.S. District Judge James Otero in an order released today three weeks after anti-SLAPP arguments were heard over POTUS’ harsh April 18 tweet calling Daniels AKA Stephanie Clifford’s sketch of a rather scary man that she says threatened her in Vegas in 2011 warning her off going public at that time with her short-lived and apparently unfulfilling intimate encounter with Trump back in 2006.
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
Clifford’s quick to the draw lawyer Michael Avenatti was back on the media and legal offense almost immediately after the judge’s ruling:
Here is the Notice of Appeal we just filed with the Ninth Circuit relating to the defamation claim against Trump. His record before the Ninth Circuit has been anything but good. #Basta pic.twitter.com/SK8QdycoUW
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) October 16, 2018
“In making the statement, Mr. Trump used his national and international audience of millions of people to make a false factual statement to denigrate and attack Ms. Clifford,” stated the original April 30 defamation filing in New York Supreme Court by Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti after Trump let off on social media. “Mr. Trump knew that his false, disparaging statement would be read by people around the world and that it would get a lot of press coverage, and that Ms. Clifford would be subjected to threats of violence, economic harm, and reputational damage as a result,” the 7-page document of the matter, which was moved out West subsequently, added.
“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,” Judge Otero said Monday in his 14-page ruling (read it here). “The Court holds that Mr. Trump’s tweet is ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ and is protected by the First Amendment,” Judge Otero said furthermore and telling of the state of political discourse in America in 2018. Plaintiff cannot amend the Complaint in a way that challenges this holding.”
With that, and other legal battles between Trump and Daniels in other jurisdictions still on-going and not at all hampered by today’s ruling, it became a showdown between the lawyers.
“No amount of spin or commentary by Stormy Daniels or her lawyer, Mr. Avenatti, can truthfully characterize today’s ruling in any way other than total victory for President Trump and total defeat for Stormy Daniels,” said the typically trenchant Charles Harder Monday after the Los Angeles-based judge’s ruling. “The amount of the award for President Trump’s attorneys’ fees will be determined at a later date,” he added of the bottom line next move the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host plans to make on the porn star.
Taking to social media soon after the decision came down and before actually filing that appeal, potential Presidential candidate and cable news regular Avenatti had his own first draft spin on what it all meant and where it could all end, or not:
Re Judge’s limited ruling: Daniels’ other claims against Trump and Cohen proceed unaffected. Trump’s contrary claims are as deceptive as his claims about the inauguration attendance.
We will appeal the dismissal of the defamation cause of action and are confident in a reversal.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) October 15, 2018
You know this isn’t really over and they’ll certainly be more tweets from Trump and Avenatti on the matter.
Be clear – even assuming Trump is owed attys fees from the defamation case (if he wins the appeal), they will be dwarfed by the fees he and Cohen will be required to pay in connection with the NDA case. Not even close. Yet more “winning” from Trump.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) October 16, 2018