US judge dismisses porn star Stormy Daniels' hush-money settlement case against Trump

Adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, speaks to media with lawyer Michael Avenatti outside the federal court in New York City, on April 16, 2018.
Adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, speaks to media with lawyer Michael Avenatti outside the federal court in New York City, on April 16, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

MILWAUKEE (REUTERS) - A federal judge in Los Angeles on Thursday (March 7) dismissed a lawsuit brought by adult film actress Stormy Daniels to end a hush-money settlement she had with United States President Donald Trump, court papers showed.

District Judge James Otero dismissed the lawsuit because Mr Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen have agreed not to enforce the non-disclosure agreement against Ms Daniels, court documents showed.

“The Court specifically found that Stormy received everything she asked for in the lawsuit – she won,” said Ms Daniels’ attorney, Mr Michael Avenatti, in a Twitter post.

Ms Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, filed a lawsuit in March 2018 to rescind a non-disclosure agreement that kept her from discussing her alleged 2006 sexual relationship with Mr Trump in the final weeks before the 2016 US presidential election.

Mr Trump has denied having an affair with Ms Daniels.

Cohen has said the agreement, under which Ms Daniels was paid US$130,000 (S$176,830), was struck to help Mr Trump capture the White House.

In his ruling, Judge Otero sent the lawsuit back to the California Superior Court, essentially ending the case. He said the case “lacks subject matter jurisdiction”.

The non-disclosure agreement did not prevent Ms Daniels from speaking to news media, including CBS’ 60 Minutes, or releasing a memoir, Full Disclosure.

“More than a year ago, when I was being threatened with a US$20 million lawsuit, I asked a judge to toss out this illegal NDA (non-disclosure agreement). Glad I stood my ground & kept fighting,” Ms Daniels tweeted after the ruling was made public.

In October, Judge Otero dismissed Ms Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against Mr Trump and ordered her to pay his attorney’s fees. He said in that ruling that a tweet the President had written referring to her was protected by free-speech laws.