A federal judge in Los Angeles appeared inclined on Tuesday to toss out a lawsuit against President Trump by porn actress Stormy Daniels who sought to tear up the non-disclosure agreement that paid her $130,000 in exchange for her silence over an alleged affair with Trump that took place more than a decade ago.
Lawyers for President Trump and his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, asked US District Court Judge S. James Otero to dismiss the lawsuit after agreeing to rescind a non-disclosure agreement.
Otero did not rule on the request, but he seemed to agree with lawyers for the president and Michael Cohen that there were no longer grounds for a lawsuit.
“It seems you’ve achieved … what you sought to achieve,” Otero said to Daniels’ lawyer.
If Otero does throw out the case, it would give both sides a chance to claim victory, and that is exactly what creepy porn lawyer Michael Avenatti did, even though he does not want the case thrown out. The longer the case stays in court, the more time he has in front of the cameras.
“They admitted what we said all along,” Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti told reporters after the hearing. “So any attempt by anyone to claim that this is not a victory for Stormy Daniels is completely bogus and nonsense and dishonest.”
It was glorious today to witness Cohen and Trump’s attorneys urging the Court to dismiss the NDA case because, according to them, there is nothing left to decide because @StormyDaniels was right all along and they agree with her. Oh what a tangled web they weave…
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) January 23, 2019
Avenatti was trying to convince the judge that the lawsuit isn’t moot even though both Trump and the company created by his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to facilitate the payoff have promised they won’t enforce the accord.
“Mr. Avenatti, you’re comparing apples and oranges,” U.S. District Judge James Otero said in response to the cases the lawyer cited to support his argument. “You’re arguing from emotion.”
Fox News reports:
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, brought the lawsuit to free herself from the agreement she’d signed to keep from telling her story late in the 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen arranged the payment and later pleaded guilty to campaign violations after admitting the deal was struck to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.
Trump has denied the alleged affair with Daniels, which she says happened in 2006, the year after he married Melania Trump.
Daniels had claimed the agreement was not valid because Trump’s signature was not on it, and the president’s lawyer has said he was never a party to the settlement.
Despite appearing to get what Daniels originally sought — dismissal of the agreement she’d disregarded long ago in speaking to news media and writing a book — Avenatti, who once toyed with challenging Trump for the presidency, fought hard to keep the case alive.
Avenatti argued the case should continue because he wanted to take sworn statements from Trump and Cohen. He also plans to ask for legal fees.
Otero last year threw out a separate defamation lawsuit Clifford brought against Trump and awarded the president $293,000 in attorney fees.
The case is Clifford v. Trump, 2:18-cv-02217, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).