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Stormy Daniels must reimburse Trump – court

The porn star has been ordered to pay $122,000 in legal fees that the ex-president incurred in fighting her failed defamation suit

Stormy Daniels, the porn star at the center of an historic criminal indictment against Donald Trump, has been ordered to pay an additional $122,000 in legal fees that the then-president incurred when she sued him unsuccessfully for defamation in 2018.

A federal appellate court in California ruled on the fee dispute on Tuesday, right around the same time that Trump was pleading not guilty in New York City to criminal charges stemming from an alleged $130,000 hush-money payment that was made to Daniels while he was running for president in 2016. Daniels, who claimed to have been threatened to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump, sued the then-president after he dismissed her accusations as a “total con job.”

The latest court order covers legal fees that Trump ran up in defending against Daniels’ appeal of a judge’s decision to throw out her defamation lawsuit. Harmeet Dillon, one of the lawyers representing Trump in the defamation case, said Tuesday’s ruling brings to more than $600,000 the combined fee awards that her firm has obtained against Daniels.


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Former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at his Mar-a-Lago estate hours after being arraigned in New York City, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
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Trump’s lawyers sought reimbursement for his legal fees in 2018, arguing that sanctions were needed to deter a “repeat filer of frivolous defamation cases.” Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has vowed that she will go to jail before she pays a penny to Trump.

When she was hit with an initial order to pay nearly $300,000 in December 2018, her then-lawyer, Michael Avenatti, claimed that the judgment would “never hold up on appeal.” Avenatti is now serving a 14-year prison term for defrauding clients and obstructing collection of taxes from his coffee business.

Trump on Tuesday became the first current or former US president arrested on criminal charges. He faces 34 counts of falsifying business records. Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg alleged that Trump falsely reported the hush-money payment to Daniels as a legal expense to cover up his violation of election laws.


Proving that Trump broke election laws would require showing that he paid Daniels solely to help win the 2016 presidential race, thereby exceeding the federal limit for campaign contributions. George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley has noted that both the Federal Election Commission and the US Department of Justice found the matter unworthy of pursuing, likely because Trump would have other potential reasons to keep allegations of an affair with Daniels from becoming public.

READ MORE: America, the reality TV show, reaches new depths with Trump’s indictment

April 05, 2023 at 11:59PM


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