Adult-film actress Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit against President Donald Trump over a non-disparagement agreement on their alleged affair has been dismissed by a federal judge in Los Angeles.
US District Judge S James Otero on Thursday said the suit, which sought to invalidate the $130,000 agreement that kept Daniels from speaking publicly about her allegations of an affair with Trump ahead of the 2016 election, “lacks subject matter jurisdiction” and should be sent back to California Superior Court, the CNN reported.
The judge found that Daniels’ lawsuit was moot because she had already received exactly what she wanted when Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen agreed last September not to enforce the confidentiality pact.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claims that she and Trump had an affair in 2006, after he married first lady Melania Trump and she gave birth to their son, Barron. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels.
Cohen arranged the nondisclosure agreement and paid Daniels USD 130,000. He admitted in federal court that “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” he kept information that would have harmed Trump from becoming public during the 2016 election cycle. He has since said that the candidate was Trump.
Cohen has since been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to nine charges, including campaign-finance violations related to payments he arranged to silence women who claimed affairs with Trump — including Daniels. Trump has denied having affairs with the women.
Otero is the same judge who also dismissed Daniels’ separate defamation cases against Trump and Cohen. In addition to dismissing the defamation lawsuit, Otero ordered Daniels to pay nearly USD 300,000 in attorney’s fees.
Daniels sued the President after he said in a tweet posted in April that her tale of a man threatening her not to come forward with her story of her alleged affair with Trump was “a total con job.” Trump had asked Otero to dismiss the lawsuit.
Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, declared victory in spite of the dismissal.
“The court found that Daniels received everything she asked for by way of the lawsuit she won and we forced Trump and Cohen to cave, Avenatti said.
Trump attorney Charles Harder welcomed the judge’s ruling.
“The US District Court confirmed today that the claim against the President has no basis in law. Combined with the attorneys’ fees and sanctions award in the President’s favour totaling $293,000, the President has achieved total victory,” he said.