Porn star Stormy Daniels ordered to pay Trump $400,000 in fees after losing defamation suit

Adult-movie star Stephanie Clifford was ordered to pay US$292,000 (S$400,000) in attorney fees and US$1,000 in sanctions to US President Donald Trump.
Adult-movie star Stephanie Clifford was ordered to pay US$292,000 (S$400,000) in attorney fees and US$1,000 in sanctions to US President Donald Trump.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (BLOOMBERG) - Stephanie Clifford, the adult-movie star professionally known as Stormy Daniels, was ordered to pay US$292,000 (S$400,000) in attorney fees and US$1,000 in sanctions to Mr Donald Trump after she unsuccessfully sued the United States President for defamation.

Mr Trump's lawyer had asked for US$389,000 in fees for defending the lawsuit and for an equal amount in sanctions to deter Ms Clifford from filing "frivolous" claims. A federal judge in Los Angeles on Tuesday (Dec 11) awarded Mr Trump 25 per cent less than what he requested for his lawyer and said steep sanctions were not necessary on top of the "substantial" fee award.

"They received less than one half what they asked for because the request was gross and excessive," Ms Clifford's lawyer, Mr Michael Avenatti, said in an e-mail after the ruling.

Earlier this year, Ms Clifford said she was threatened by an unknown man in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 for agreeing to cooperate with a magazine article about a tryst she says she had with Mr Trump in 2006.

After her lawyer released a composite sketch of the man, Mr Trump accused Ms Clifford in an April tweet of "a total con job" concerning a "nonexistent man".

US District Judge James Otero threw out Ms Clifford's lawsuit in November, saying Mr Trump's "defaming" tweet was protected free speech.

Judge Otero said in Tuesday's ruling that deterrence seems to be working because Ms Clifford is trying to withdraw another defamation claim pending in his court and she hasn't taken further legal action against Mr Trump "despite rhetorically hyperbolic statements" he's made about her recently.

 
 

In October, Mr Trump called Ms Clifford "horseface" in a tweet and said he "can now go after" her and "her 3rd rate lawyer".

Ms Clifford still has a case pending in Los Angeles to challenge the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) she signed with Mr Trump's then-lawyer Michael Cohen to prevent her from discussing the alleged affair. Mr Trump and Mr Cohen both have said they won't enforce that agreement and that the case should be thrown out as moot.

"Stormy will never have to pay a dime" of the money awarded to Mr Trump on Tuesday, Mr Avenatti said, "because they owe her over US$1 million in attorneys' fees and costs from the NDA case, especially in light of Cohen's guilty plea".