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Stormy Daniels ordered to pay Trump another $121,000 in legal fees

By Sarah May
|
April 5, 2023

Within hours of his arraignment in a New York City courtroom over payments made to adult entertainer Stormy Daniels several years ago, former President Donald Trump received good news from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which awarded him more than $120,000 in attorney fees stemming from defamation litigation between the two, as The Hill reports.

The case that prompted Tuesday's outcome was filed by Daniels against Trump in 2018, which was subsequently dismissed.

“Total con job”

As the New York Post noted, the Ninth Circuit's award of nearly $122,000 in legal fees comes in addition to the roughly $300,000 Daniels already owes Trump as a result of the dismissal of the matter soon after it was initiated.

In that case, Daniels claimed that after she granted an interview to In Touch magazine back in 2011 in which she discussed her alleged affair with Trump five years earlier, an unnamed individual approached her in a threatening manner, telling her to stop talking to the media and making vague references to the safety of her daughter.

Fast-forward to 2018, and Trump publicly accused Daniels of fabricating the entire story about what he called a “nonexistent man” and declared the entire scenario “a total con job.”

Though Daniels sued Trump for defamation as a result of the aforementioned statement, her claim was tossed, and she was ordered to pay his attorney fees. Following unsuccessful appeals on her part, the Ninth Circuit this week deemed the amount claimed by Trump to be “reasonable” and upheld the original award.

Trumps react

It did not take long for Trump to weigh in on the appeals court's decision, taking to his Truth Social platform following his Manhattan arraignment to say, “Alvin Bragg shut down New York City, brought in 38,000 NYPD officers, and will spend an estimated $200,000,000 of NYC funds, for a totally legal $130,000 NDA.”

“On top of all that, the 9th Circuit just awarded me $122,000 – over the $500,000 already awarded, from Stormy 'Horseface' Daniels!” Trump added.

The former president's son, Donald Trump Jr., reacted to the news on Twitter, writing, “BREAKING!!! The 9th Circuit just awarded Trump $121,862.56 in attorney fees from Stormy Daniels. Order just released. This in addition to the roughly $500k she already owes him.”

“LOL glad she's out there saying her T-shirt sales are booming she'll be able to afford to pay Trump!” Don Jr. added, referring to Daniels' burgeoning online merchandising enterprise, for which she recently boasted, “orders are pouring in.”

Payment pending?

Also celebrating the vindication of Trump's entitlement to legal fees from Daniels was Harmeet Dhillon, an attorney for the former president, who declared, “Congratulations to President Trump on his final attorney fee victory in his favor this morning.”

Dhillon continued, “Collectively, our firm obtained over $600,000 in attorney fee awards in his favor in the meritless litigation initiated by Stormy Daniels,” as The Hill noted.

Actually collecting that sum from Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, may require some additional legal wrangling, if her past statements on the matter are any indication.

As the Post noted separately, back in 2022, when she was ordered to pay roughly $300,000 in Trump's legal fees arising out of the aforementioned defamation case, Daniels defiantly said, “I will go to jail before I pay a penny.”

“She feels bad”

Despite her tough talk about resisting legal orders to pay Trump's legal fees, as The Hill reported separately, Daniels apparently has mixed feelings about everything that has happened to the former president in recent days.

Citing a USA Today interview given by her attorney, Clark Brewster, the outlet noted that Daniels is not necessarily relishing Trump's indictment in connection with payments made to her in the past.

“The fact is that she feels bad that the guy has been charged,” Brewster said. “But on the other hand, truly, she knew what the facts were, and she wants him to deal with the truth as well. So from that perspective, there's a degree of feeling like the system is working.”

Whether that same system will work to help Trump enforce Daniel's financial obligations as outlined by the Ninth Circuit, however, only time will tell.