Donald Trump's defeats in court continue to pile up this week. Unrelated to former campaign manager and adviser Steve Bannon's arrest, Trump saw his tax return battle end in stalled defeat, leaving him little wiggle room. Then Saturday came a ruling that Trump would have to pay legal fees for adult film star Stormy Daniels according to CNN.
Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, has been locked in a legal fight after claiming she had an affair with the president from 2006 until 2007. The actress signed a nondisclosure agreement with Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen for $130,000, representing a shell company and "David Dennison," allegedly a fake name used by Trump.
The truth always comes out https://t.co/ifeoBwI8tM— Stormy Daniels (@StormyDaniels) August 21, 2020
The president denies the affair, though Cohen and Daniels have shared plenty of details around the alleged encounters. Clifford sued in 2018 to be released from the NDA, with Trump and his legal team agreeing not to sue or enforce the NDA. This led to the case being dismissed, with Monday's decision on the legal fees falling in Daniels' favor since she is legally the "prevailing party" under California law.
Trump's legal team attempted to say that Trump was not liable for any legal fees because he did not sign the NDA himself. However, Judge Robert Broadbelt III ruled that Clifford was entitled to the legal fees and Trump was "party to the agreement" due to his reimbursement to Michael Cohen for the $130,000 and his legal team arguing that an arbiter handles the lawsuit as stated in the NDA.
Cohen pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to the payments to Daniels, telling investigators under oath that he paid Daniels "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office." The dismissed suit is one of three filed by Daniels in 2018. The second, a defamation suit filed by Daniels was thrown out of court and ordered to pay Trump $300,000 in attorney fees. She is appealing this decision, though the judge in the case ruled that the First Amendment protects Trump's comments on Twitter.
Despite the legal wrangling, Daniels has continued working and taking shots at the president on social media. After the latest decision was announced, Daniels posted three simple words in response. "Yup. Another win," she wrote.