Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress, has been hit with a hefty legal bill for her 2018 libel case against the former U.S. President Donald Trump. On Tuesday, at the same time as Trump was arraigned in New York for criminal charges, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ordered Daniels to pay nearly $122,000 to Trump’s lawyers in addition to the more than $293,000 she was previously ordered to pay for losing the libel case.
Daniels had sued Trump over a tweet in which he accused her of a “total con job” after she said she had been threatened in order to keep quiet her claim of having an affair with Trump, which the former president has denied. The tweet was deemed as protected by the First Amendment given it was “rhetorical hyperbole”, and as a result, Daniels was ordered to pay close to $300,000 in legal fees. She also lost her appeals, resulting in an additional $245,000 in fees which she was also responsible for.
The latest ruling by the 9th Circuit orders Daniels to pay the legal fees for Trump’s counsel for defending the libel case. The ruling comes at a time when Trump is facing a 34-count indictment in New York state court which involves falsification of business records in order to hide reimbursement payments to his longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen. Cohen was behind a $130,000 hush-money payment in 2016 to prevent Daniels’ story from being published prior to the presidential election. The New York prosecutor mentioned that Daniels might also become a witness for the case. However, the two cases aren’t closely linked.
Trump’s attorney, Harmeet Dhillon. expressed her appreciation for the ruling and said that “they were gratified that the 9th Circuit awarded the vast majority of fees incurred in the final stage of this litigation that never should have taken a moment of the court’s time. In total, the court awarded our client over $600,000 in fees in this dispute that Ms. Clifford initiated. We are glad to have brought this matter to a successful conclusion for our client.”
In conclusion, the legal issues between Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump have finally been resolved with the latest ruling by the 9th Circuit ordering Daniels to pay $122,000 in legal fees for Trump’s attorneys. The two cases aren’t connected, but the timing of both rulings is certainly notable since it involved the same underlying facts. From the outcome, it would appear that legal victory belongs to Trump as his legal counsel was able to successfully put an end to litigation stemming from the $130,000 hush-money payment.