Stormy Daniels Owes Trump $600,000 … WHAT??
No, the headline is not fake news … or a spoof article from the humor publication, The Onion.
On the day President Trump was being arraigned on 34 criminal charges in a Manhattan courtroom, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in California ruled that the porn actress Stormy Daniels owed The Donald another $121,000 – bringing her reported total legal obligation to Trump to approximately $600,000.
For obvious reasons, that case does not get very much attention from the anti-Trump news media. The few folks I talked to knew nothing about it. If you are like those folks, allow me to explain.
Shortly after the hush money paid to Daniels became a public issue back in 2016, she filed a suit against Trump for defamation – based on a tweet in which Trump debunked Daniels’ claim that she had been threatened with physical violence in 2011 to shut up about the affair between them, which she alleges, and he denies.
In her lawsuit, Daniels claimed that an “unknown man” had accosted her in a Las Vegas parking lot. This was before the hush money payment. Daniels’s lawyer at the time was Michael Avenatti – who, at the time, was a frequent guest on the news circuit. In fact, his more than 70 appearances on CNN broke a record.
(For the record: Avenatti later produced a false witness in conjunction with the confirmation hearing of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, announced his intention to run for President of the United States, and is now serving time in prison for embezzling from clients – including Daniels.)
At the time of Daniels’s allegation of a physical threat, Avenatti produced an artist sketch of the alleged intimidator – which was similar in appearance to Daniels’ ex-husband. The side-by-side images were put online by a blogger and went viral. Trump responded in a tweet, “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”
Daniels, upon the advice of Avenatti, filed a defamation suit against Trump. She lost the suit, and the court awarded Trump $300,000 in compensation for lawyers’ fees.
In response to the more recent California court decision, Trump attorney Harmeet Dhillon issued a statement:
“Congratulations to President Trump on this final attorney fee victory in his favor this morning. Collectively, our firm obtained over $600,000 in attorney fee awards in his favor in the meritless litigation initiated by Stormy Daniels.”
(I Did not find an explanation as to how $300,000 and $121,000 rose to $600,000, but perhaps it was interest or penalties for non-payment – or even more legal fees associated with attempts to collect.)
And now the porn actress is scheduled to be a key witness against Trump alongside ex-convict Michael Cohen, a man who lied to investigators, who lied to Congress, and who lied to the public – in a case that is turning into an exercise in prosecutorial overreach. Whatever may be the outcomes of the other cases involving Trump, this one looks like a political Circus Maximus.
So, there ‘tis.