Three thousand miles from his New York legal drama, Donald Trump secured a major victory in yet another court.
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sided with the former president in his bid to recover additional legal fees from adult film star Stormy Daniels, who had filed and lost a defamation lawsuit against him.
Daniels was ordered to pay Trump’s lawyers just over $120,000 in legal fees. That is in addition to the more than $500,000 in court-ordered payments to Trump’s lawyers that she has already been ordered to pay.
The civil litigation is not officially related to Trump’s arrest and the charges brought against him in New York, but both involved Daniels, who was allegedly paid $130,000 in money during the 2016 presidential campaign to keep quiet. about a romance. (Trump denies the affair.)
Daniels sued Trump in 2018 after he tweeted an allegation by Daniels that a stranger threatened her in a parking lot into silence about her alleged affair with Trump as a “total scam.”
In dismissing the lawsuit in October 2018, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero said Trump’s statement was protected by the First Amendment.
“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 wrote at the time.
Otero later ordered Daniels to pay $293,000 in attorneys’ fees. He too was ordered to pay US$245,000 in fees after losing another appeal.
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, had asked the appeals court to overturn another ruling. The court denied her request.
“Clifford’s argument that the fee request is unreasonable and excessive is without merit,” the 9th Circuit filing noted.
“Trump’s lawyers reasonably used the requested 183.35 hours to prepare a motion to dismiss, a response to the opposition to the motion, two motions for extension, the answer brief, and the request for fees,” it added.
Trump’s lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon, celebrated the ruling in a tweet on Tuesday, saying: “Congratulations to [former] President Trump on this final attorney fee victory in his favor this morning. Collectively, our firm made over $ 600,000 in attorneys’ fee awards in his favor in the no-merit litigation brought by Stormy Daniels.”