Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, took the president to court over his disparaging remarks against her on Twitter and in the media. According to a report by the Associated Press, Judge S. James Otero ordered her to pay 75 percent of the president's legal fees on Tuesday, as a deterrent against future accusations.
President Trump's lawyer in the case, Charles Harder, asked Otero to order Daniels to pay all of the president's legal fees — nearly $390,000. He also requested the same amount in sanctions against Daniels, who he reportedly called a “repeat filer of frivolous defamation cases.”
Instead, Otero ordered her to pay just $293,000 in fees, as well as $1,000 in sanctions. Otero also criticized the massive bill, noting that Harder's rate — $840 per hour — was fine, though the staggering 580 hours he billed on the case was excessive.
Daniels' famously outspoken lawyer, Michael Avenatti, is apparently still not worried about the apparent loss. Otero ruled against Daniels back in October, though there have been huge developments in the various allegations against the president since then. In a tweet on Tuesday, Avenatti revealed his plan to appeal Otero's order, which he believes will "never hold up."
Only @realDonaldTrump would celebrate a “win” at the end of the first quarter. Stormy will never pay a dime because Trump and his purse puppy Cohen owe my client in excess of $1,500,000 in the NDA case. Seeing as he isn’t good at math, that’s over $1,200,000 to my client. #Basta— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) December 12, 2018
Daniels still has another lawsuit against President Trump in Los Angeles as well. This one contests the non-disclosure agreement she signed with the president's lawyer, Michael Cohen, who was sentenced to 36 months in prison on Wednesdsay.
While Cohen has pleaded guilty to several felonies — among them, paying Daniels to keep her alleged affair with the president a secret — President Trump still denies the tryst altogether. Daniels' suit claimed that this represented defamation, as her career depends on her trustworthiness. In particular, it focused on a tweet where the president called her claim a "total con job."
After Otero ruled in his favor, the president took another shot at Daniels on Twitter, this time adding in a personal insult.0comments
"Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas," the president wrote on Twitter. "She will confirm the letter she signed! She knows nothing about me, a total con!"
“Federal Judge throws out Stormy Danials lawsuit versus Trump. Trump is entitled to full legal fees.” @FoxNews Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas. She will confirm the letter she signed! She knows nothing about me, a total con!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
The president's payment to Daniels through Cohen likely constitutes a massive violation of campaign finance law, putting him on unsteady ground as the special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller closes in.