- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Stormy Daniels has been ordered to pay almost $300,000 to President Trump for filing a dismissed defamation suit against him.

U.S. District Judge S. James Otero ordered the porn star, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to pay $292,052.33 to cover the president’s attorneys’ fees plus $1,000 in sanctions for filing the case at all.

“The court’s order, along with the court’s prior order dismissing Stormy Daniels’ defamation case against the President, together constitute a total victory for the President, and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels in this case,” Trump attorney Charles Harder said in a statement Tuesday.

Ms. Clifford’s dismissed lawsuit, which Mr. Harder called “meritless,” accused him of defaming her by calling her claims of a pre-presidential affair “a total con job.” Judge Otero ruled that such language is protected First Amendment political rhetoric.

However, Ms. Clifford also sued Mr. Trump over a non-disclosure agreement, which the judge didn’t dismiss. And Mr. Harder had asked for an $800,000 payment over the defamation — both facts that Ms. Clifford’s lawyer used to downplay Tuesday’s ruling.

“Trump asked for $800k in attorneys’ fees, costs and sanctions from the minor defamation case. The [court] awarded well less than 1/2, recognizing that the request was gross & excessive. The amount in fees awarded Stormy in the main NDA case will be at least $1 million more than this,” Michael Avenatti wrote on Twitter.

He later deleted that tweet, though not before news outlets screen-captured it.

“Trump and his attorney’s attempt to fool the public about the importance of the attorneys’ fees in the defamation case, which are a fraction of what they owe my client in the main NDA case, is an absolute joke. People are smarter than that,” he later wrote.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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