Today marks yet another victory for former President Donald Trump as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered Stormy Daniels to pay Trump nearly $122,000 in legal fees for a defamation case she brought against him. That’s in addition to the $293,000 she had been ordered to pay after losing in district court and $245,000 for unsuccessfully pursuing an earlier appeal.
This broke the same day Trump showed up to court to face the latest indictment (which also involves Daniels).
Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, took to The View in 2018 in an attempt to release a sketch of a man she claimed had threatened her to keep silent in 2011 regarding a one-night stand with Trump. In response, Trump took to Twitter to call Daniels’ sketch a “total con job” and an attempt to fool the Fake News Media.
This prompted Daniels to sue Trump for defamation, but the case was dismissed in the same year. Trump and his attorneys with the Dhillon Law Group had to spend 183.35 hours to respond and fight the case, and now the court has ordered Stormy Daniels to pay the former president and his attorneys $121,972.56.
Trump supporters and allies, including his son Donald Trump Jr., have celebrated the Ninth Circuit’s move. But Daniels has been unwavering in her defiance, declaring that she would rather go to jail than pay a single penny to Trump.
Congratulations to President Trump on this final attorney fee victory in his favor this morning. Collectively, our firm obtained over $600,000 in attorney fee awards in his favor in the meritless litigation initiated by Stormy Daniels. https://t.co/ld7SVvZOp6 pic.twitter.com/1b5P3flxFb
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) April 4, 2023
Daniels’s attempt to challenge the award of legal fees in the latest appeal was unsuccessful as Appellate Commissioner Lisa Fitzgerald was not moved by any of her arguments. Fitzgerald noted that the attorney fees were reasonable and appropriate, adding that Daniels “does not point to any attorney work that was unnecessary.”
I will go to jail before I pay a penny
— Stormy Daniels (@StormyDaniels) March 22, 2022
So, in the end, the court sided with the former president, leaving Stormy Daniels to pick up the tab. This turn of events should come as no surprise given the endless legal battles that Daniels and her lawyer Michael Avenatti have sparked, only to be dismissed time and time again.
It’s obvious that Daniels and her team have been attempting to distract the public and tarnish Trump’s reputation. However, with this latest ruling, it should be clear that the court system will not be swayed by these false claims and defamatory statements. That’s why it’s important that we as a country remember to remain level-headed and not be taken in by these kind of baseless accusations.
Erica Carlin is an independent journalist, opinion writer and contributor to several news and opinion sources. She is based in Georgia.