The Slatest

Federal Judge Dismisses Stormy Daniels Defamation Suit Against Donald Trump

Stormy Daniels during an interview in Berlin on October 11, 2018.
Stormy Daniels has multiple suits pending against President Trump and his personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
RALF HIRSCHBERGER/Getty Images

A federal judge, on Monday, dismissed a defamation suit filed by former porn star Stormy Daniels against Donald Trump that claimed Trump’s tweet calling her assertion that she was threatened when she came forward with the story of their affair “a total con job.” Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti argued that the statement was “false and defamatory, and that the tweet was defamation … because it charged her with committing a serious crime,” District Judge S. James Otero wrote in his opinion Monday. Otero, however, wasn’t buying it, writing in his opinion that Trump’s tweet amounted to constitutionally protected speech.

“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,” Otero wrote. Otero ordered Daniels to pay Trump’s legal fees as part of the ruling.

“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,” Trump’s attorney Charles Harder said in a statement to CNN about the ruling. Avenatti said Daniels will appeal the ruling and that the decision will not affect Daniels’ other claims against Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen.