Three thousand miles away from his New York legal drama, Donald Trump secured a substantial victory in another court.
The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the former president in his effort to recoup additional legal fees from adult film star Stormy Daniels, who had filed and lost a defamation suit against him.
Daniels was ordered to pay Trump’s attorneys just over $120,000 in legal fees. That’s on top of the more than $500,000 in court-ordered payments to Trump attorneys she’s already been ordered to pay.
The civil litigation is officially unrelated to Trump’s arrest and charges filed against him in New York, but both involved Daniels, who was paid $130,000 in hush money during the 2016 presidential campaign to keep quiet about an affair. (Trump denies the affair.)
Daniels had sued Trump in 2018 after he called an allegation by Daniels that an unknown man threatened her in a parking lot to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump a “total con job” in a tweet.
Dismissing the lawsuit in October 2018, 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 roughly $293,000 in legal fees. She was also ordered to pay $245,000 in fees after losing another appeal.
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, had asked the appeals court to knock down another award. The court declined her request.
“Clifford’s argument that the fee request is unreasonable and excessive is not well-founded,” the 9th Circuit filing stated.
“Trump’s attorneys reasonably spent the requested 183.35 hours preparing a motion to dismiss, a reply to the opposition to the motion, two extension motions, the answering brief, and the fee application,” it added.
Trump attorney Harmeet Dhillon celebrated the ruling in a tweet Tuesday, saying: “Congratulations to President Trump on this final attorney fee victory in his favor this morning. Collectively, our firm obtained over $600,000 in attorney fee awards in his favor in the meritless litigation initiated by Stormy Daniels.”
Source : CNN