Federal judge: Stormy Daniels owes Trump $293,000 in attorney's fees

She and Avenatti sued Trump for allegedly defaming her in a tweet, you may remember. They lost — and not only did they lose, the court found that the suit violated Texas’s anti-SLAPP statute, which punishes a litigant for filing a frivolous complaint aimed at discouraging criticism by the defendant. That punishment: Attorney’s fees. Trump and his lawyer, Charles Harder, asked for $340,000 from Daniels to compensate Harder for his work on the case, but the court was free to conclude that that amount is excessive and should be scaled waaaaaay back.


Judge James Otero issued his ruling this afternoon. Harder’s getting nearly three-quarters of his fees.

A California judge has ordered Stormy Daniels pay $293,052.33 in attorney’s fees, costs and sanctions to the lawyers representing President Donald Trump in the defamation suit Daniels and her attorney Michael Avenatti brought against Trump earlier this year.

Trump’s attorney, Charles Harder, had asked for a total of nearly $780,000 from the adult films actress — $389,000 in attorney fees and another $389,000 in sanctions in a hearing last week…

“The court’s order, along with the court’s prior order dismissing Stormy Daniels’ defamation case against the President, together constitute a total victory for the President, and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels in this case,” Harder said.

Imagine that your dubious lawyer talked you into filing a dubious lawsuit against the president of the United States with the very real prospect of an outcome in which you would end up owing him money. Lots and lots of money. You’d be mad, huh?

Now imagine that that same dubious lawyer never talked you into filing the dubious suit at all — that, rather, he just went ahead and filed it himself in your name, against your wishes, knowing that you’d be stuck with the bill if it went bad, not him.

Because that’s what Stormy claims happened here, you know.

America’s greatest lawyer was stoic in the aftermath of today’s defeat, assured that the flow of money here will soon reverse and all wrongs will be righted:


He tweeted this too, then thought better of it and deleted it. Ken “Popehat” White preserved it for posterity, calling it “really really foolish on lots of levels. LOTS. OF. LEVELS.”

Alex Griswold summarizes: “It’s okay that Avenatti made an unforced error that cost his client $300,000, because she’ll get more money in a different case, maybe.”

Also, is Avenatti right that Otero’s ruling won’t hold up on appeal? White isn’t so sure:

Avenatti’s confidence about winning on appeal is “badly misplaced,” he went on to say — before adding this:


This could get worse for Stormy if the litigation continues. And if it does get worse, what happens if the gajillion-dollar judgment in the NDA case that Avenatti’s expecting doesn’t materialize? It’s conceivable that she’ll end up owing Trump more money than vice versa once the legal dust settles, and the more she pursues the defamation matter, the more likely that becomes. Weird to think that one quickie in Tahoe 12 years ago might end up with the president going to prison and his paramour going broke. Exit question: Realistically there’s no way the Stormy saga ends except with her suing Avenatti, is there?

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