A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed on Monday by adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who alleged that President Trump had defamed her when he suggested that she lied because she had threatened to silence her alleged relationship to preserve.
US District Judge S. James Otero of Los Angeles ruled that Trump's speech was protected by the First Amendment as the kind of "rhetorical exaggeration" normally associated with politics and public discourse in the United States. He ordered Daniels, whose first name Stephanie is Clifford, to pay Trump's legal fees.
Trump lawyer Charles Harder cheered Otero's decision.
"No amount of spins or comments from Stormy Daniels or her lawyer, Mr. Avenatti, can somehow characterize today's verdict in a totally different way for President Trump and total defeat for Stormy Daniels," Harder said in an e-mail -Message.
The verdict is a blow to Daniels and her lawyer Michael Avenatti, who has a national profile of his legal battles against the president and is considering a presidential candidate in 2020.
Avenatti called the verdict "limited" on Twitter and said it was Daniels' main concern against Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen, who wants to invalidate their 2016 secrecy agreement.
"Daniel's other claims against Trump and Cohen continue untouched," wrote Avenatti in a tweet he later seemed to have erased.
He proposed in a second tweet that he would appeal to Otero's verdict and that any charges that Trump could receive from the defamation case, "by the fees he and Cohen incurred in connection with the NDA case have to be overshadowed. " The lawsuit against Trump received less attention than two other lawsuits against Trump – Daniel's claim for annulment of the non-disclosure agreement and a separate defamation notice from former student candidate Summer Zervos, who alleged that Trump had sexually abused her in 2007 and claimed that he had defamed when he suggested she was lying.
Trump was ordered to give written answers under oath in this case to the New York State Supreme Cou last month
Avenatti and Daniels have been Trump's main opponents since the beginning of this year, when Daniel's secrecy agreement was first reported. The deal was negotiated ahead of the 2016 elections to keep Daniels from talking about a brief affair she had with Trump in 2006. Trump denies that an affair has taken place.
Trump and Cohen have attempted to prevent further incidents litigation over the NDA by pledging not to enforce them. The two sides will appear before Otero on December 3 to dispute whether this lawsuit should continue.
Daniels filed the defamation lawsuit in April after publishing a sketch to show the man who had threatened to silence her in 2011 The Alleged Affair.
Responding to the sketch on Twitter, Trump wrote that it represented a "nonexistent man".
"A totally con job playing fake news media for fools (but they know it!)" he wrote in the tweet that became the basis of Daniel's & # 39; lawsuit.
Otero, who was called to court by President George W. Bush, said at a hearing in late September that he was skeptical of Daniel's right to freedom of expression. He argued on Monday that Daniels had presented himself as a "political opponent" of Trump in public and judicial submissions and that Trump has the right to respond to their claims.
"If this court prevented Mr. Trump from engaging in such a manner of" rhetorical exaggeration "against a political opponent, it would significantly hinder the office of President," wrote Otero.
"Any sharp-paced response of a president to another politician or public figure could be a libel suit, depriving this country of the" discourse "common to the political process," he wrote.
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