Stormy Daniels’ ongoing legal fight against President Donald Trump was dealt a potentially fatal blow on Tuesday, when U.S. District Court Judge James Otero ordered that she pay nearly $300,000 in the president’s legal fees for her defamation suit against Trump. That suit was dismissed by Otero this past October.
While Otero, whose court is in the Central District of California, did not order Daniels to pay the full $389,403.11 requested by Trump’s legal team, based on both attorneys fees and hours worked, he did determine that she must reimburse the president $292,092.33, as well as an additional $1,000 as “sanctions” for filing what it deemed a “frivolous” suit against Trump.
Daniels’ defamation suit, filed earlier this year, hinged largely on an April 18, 2018 tweet from the President, which she claimed called into question her allegations that she’d been threatened by someone seeking to prevent her from going public about her alleged affair with Trump.
In his ruling dismissing the suit, Otero stated that the president’s tweet was par for the course in the world of public figures and politicians, and therefore was protected by the First Amendment.
Responding to Otero’s ruling, Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti insisted that his client would never end up paying the fee if the case is appealed, and insisted that Trump may still be culpable for violating a nondisclosure agreement between him and Daniels.
Charles Harder, the lead attorney representing Trump in the Daniels defamation case, released a brief statement following Otero’s decision, calling it “a total victory for the President, and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels.”
While Daniels may be on the hook for what has now been ruled a frivolous lawsuit, she may ultimately end up having the last laugh against Trump and his inner circle. It was her legal actions, after all, which led prosecutors to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who has since implicated the president in a number of campaign finance crimes stemming from his ham-fisted attempt to silence Daniels during the 2016 presidential election.