A US federal judge in Los Angeles on Monday rejected the defamation suit filed by adult film actress Stormy Daniels against US President Donald Trump and ordered her to pay court fees.
The actress’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said his client was going to appeal the decision, being optimistic that the judgment could be overturned.
Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claims to have had an affair with the president in 2006.
The defamation suit, filed in April, stems from remarks by the president following an interview that the actress gave to CBS last March.
She said that she had an agreement with an American magazine in 2011 to publish the story of her relationship with Donald Trump.
The actress had said that shortly after, a man threatened her in a parking lot in Las Vegas, enjoining the latter to keep silent about his relationship with the president. Following her CBS interview, she broadcast a robot portrait of the man.
Shouting at the “scam”, Mr. Trump had retorted on Twitter that the man in question “did not exist” and that Stormy Daniels was trying to take the “false news media” for “fools”.
Judge invokes freedom of expression
The magistrate ruled that Trump’s tweet was protected by the first amendment’s freedom of expression.
“The Court agrees with Mr. Trump’s argument, because the tweet in question is a rhetorical hyperbole normally associated with the speech of public figures like politicians,” he wrote.
Trump’s lawyer Charles Harder said he sees it as a “total victory” for his client.
Other pending lawsuits
Another lawsuit brought by Stormy Daniels is ongoing. The actress, who received $ 130,000 to keep silent about her alleged relationship, also filed a lawsuit against the president to challenge the validity of this confidentiality agreement.
The lawsuit alleges that the agreement signed by Ms. Clifford and Donald Trump’s former personal advocate, Michael Cohen, a few days before the 2016 presidential election is invalid, since Mr. Trump never signed it.
Last August, Mr. Cohen also admitted his guilt to charges, including violations of election financing rules for paying, in exchange for their silence, two women who claimed to have had a relationship with the president.
Mr. Cohen claimed to have acted “at the request of the candidate”, who is presumed to be Donald Trump, and with the intention of influencing the 2016 presidential election.
If their names were not mentioned in her guilty plea, the amounts paid were the amount paid to Stormy Daniels and the $150,000 paid to former playmate Karen McDougal.
The latter has also lodged a complaint against Donald Trump asking to be released from a confidentiality clause on his affair with the US president.