Wednesday 14 November 2018

Stormy Daniels loses defamation case against Donald Trump

Stormy Daniels has lost a defamation case against Donald Trump (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Stormy Daniels has lost a defamation case against Donald Trump (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Keiran Southern

Stormy Daniels has lost a defamation case against Donald Trump and has been ordered to pay the president's legal fees.

The adult film actress - who alleges she had an affair with Mr Trump in 2006 - brought legal action against the politician after he accused her of lying about being threatened to stay quiet about their alleged relationship.

After Ms Daniels's lawyer released a sketch of a man who allegedly told her to remain silent in 2011, Mr Trump, who denies having an affair with Ms Daniels, tweeted it was a "total con job" about a "nonexistent man".

Ms Daniels had argued she had been defamed but on Monday judge S James Otero disagreed, dismissing her lawsuit and ordering her to pay Mr Trump's legal costs.

A judgment released in the Central District of California court, referring to Ms Daniels as the plaintiff, states: "The Court agrees with Mr Trump's argument because the tweet in question constitutes 'rhetorical hyperbole' normally associated with politics and public discourse in the United States.

"The First Amendment protects this type of rhetorical statement."

The judgment defined "rhetorical hyperbole" as "extravagant exaggeration employed for rhetorical effect" and said Mr Trump's tweet had "an incredulous tone, suggesting that the content of his tweet was not meant to be understood as a literal statement about Plaintiff".

"Instead, Mr Trump sought to use language to challenge Plaintiff's account of her affair and the threat that she purportedly received in 2011. As the United States Supreme Court has held, a published statement that is 'pointed, exaggerated, and heavily laden with emotional rhetoric and moral outrage' cannot constitute a defamatory statement."

Donald Trump has won a legal victory over adult film star Stormy Daniels (Niall Carson/PA)
Donald Trump has won a legal victory over adult film star Stormy Daniels (Niall Carson/PA)

The amount Ms Daniels will have to pay Mr Trump has not yet been decided, Charles Harder, the president's lawyer, said.

Ms Daniels's lawyer, Michael Avenatti tweeted to say his client would be appealing the judgment, adding he is "confident of a reversal".

Ms Daniels, who in August pulled out of an appearance on Celebrity Big Brother following a row with producers, alleges she was paid to remain silent over claims of an affair with Mr Trump.

Mr Trump denies he had an affair but acknowledged reimbursing his lawyer for a $130,000 (€112,000) payment made to Ms Daniels.

Press Association

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