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Federal Judge Dismisses Stormy Daniels’ Defamation Lawsuit, Allows President Trump to Collect Legal Fees


And after all of that, a federal judge has dismissed Stormy Daniels‘ defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump.

Judge S. James Otero issued the order Monday, allowing President Trump to seek money to cover attorneys’ fees if he so chooses.

“Having granted the Special Motion [to dismiss] and denied Plaintiff leave to amend, the Court finally holds that Defendant is entitled to attorney’s fees,” Otero said.

The judge said that Trump and his team have 14 days to file a motion to seek said fees. President Trump’s counsel Charles J. Harder was pleased with the ruling and said Daniels should pay up for legal fees.

“United States District Judge S. James Otero issued an order and ruling today dismissing Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President Trump. The ruling also states that the President is entitled to an award of his attorneys’ fees against Stormy Daniels,” Harder said in a statement. “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. The amount of the award for President Trump’s attorneys’ fees will be determined at a later date.”

Law&Crime’s Ronn Blitzer  wrote at the end of July that Otero might have tipped his hand based on how the judge reacted. Even more recently, Otero said that Trump’s use of the insult “con job” to describe the sketch of “a nonexistent man” who Daniels claimed threatened her in a parking lot “appear[ed] to be rhetorical hyperbole by a public official involving a public figure,” as opposed to actual defamation.

This was Otero’s reasoning again.

“The Court holds that Mr. Trump’s tweet is ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ and is protected by the First Amendment,” the judge said. “Plaintiff cannot amend the Complaint in a way that challenges this holding.”

Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti, however, appears undeterred by the ruling and said that he would appeal the dismissal.

“Daniels’ other claims against Trump and Cohen proceed unaffected. Trump must have written Mr. Harder’s release because it is as deceptive as his claims about the inauguration attendance,” he told Law&Crime in a statement. “We will appeal the dismissal of the defamation cause of action and are confident in a reversal.”

“There is something really rich in Trump relying on the First Amendment to justify defaming a woman,” he added.

[Image via Tara Ziemba/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.