WASHINGTON – A federal judge has thrown out a defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump filed by porn star Stormy Daniels, with whom he has been fighting a legal battle for several months.
Daniels was suing Trump for saying the porn actress lied about receiving threats to keep her mouth shut about their alleged intimate relations over 10 years ago.
Federal District Judge S. James Otero ruled Monday in Los Angeles that this was a case of Trump using “rhetorical hyperbole,” which is protected by the free-speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
The judge in his verdict also ordered Daniels to pay the legal expenses Trump incurred in contesting the suit.
Though the ruling is a setback both for Daniels and for her attorney Michael Avenatti, who has announced his aspiration to run for president in 2020, the defamation suit against Trump was not his best showcase.
The porn star had entered a plea for the justice system to revoke the silence agreement she signed before the 2016 presidential election, for which she was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about her alleged relations with Trump.
“No amount of spin or commentary by Stormy Daniels or her lawyer, Mr. Avenatti, can truthfully characterize today’s ruling in any way other than total victory for President Trump and total defeat for Stormy Daniels,” the president’s lawyer Charles Harder said in a statement.
For his part, Avenatti said the rest of the legal battle against Trump “will proceed unaffected” by the limited verdict handed down by Otero, while announcing he will “appeal the dismissal of the defamation cause of action” before a higher court.
Daniels claims she and Trump had relations in 2006, soon after he married the current first lady, Melania Trump.
Trump, however, has denied any relations with Daniels despite admitting the payment of $130,000.