9th Circuit Rejects Stormy Daniels’ Trump Defamation Suit Appeal

LOS ANGELES—More than two years after a lower court judge dismissed Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump, the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals slapped down Daniels appeal of the Judge James Otero’s decision, in a hearing at the Ninth Circuit’s Pasadena, Calif., courtroom on Friday, Politico reported. The lawsuit stemmed from an April 2018 incident in which Daniels and her then-lawyer Michael Avenatti appeared on the ABC Network program The View, where they revealed what they said was a forensic sketch of a man who had accosted and threatened Daniels, invoking Trump’s name, in a Las Vegas parking lot, seven years earlier.  Following the broadcast, Trump lashed out on his Twitter account, claiming that man depicted in the sketch was “non-existent,” and declaring, “A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!” Avenatti quickly filed the defamation suit on Daniels’ behalf. But later that year, Otero ruled that Trump’s tweets fell under the category of “hyperbole” and were not intended to be taken literally. He threw out the lawsuit and ordered Daniels to pay approximately $300,000 in Trump’s legal fees. Nearly two years later, the Ninth Circuit in its opinion agreed that Trump’s tweet “could not reasonably be read as asserting that (Daniels) was committing a crime,” and that Trump’s phrasing was simply “a colorful expression of rhetorical hyperbole.” The court also ruled that because Daniels’ principal place of residence is in Texas, that Texas law would apply. And under that state’s defamation statutes, “statements of opinion cannot form the basis of a defamation claim.” Trump’s tweet was a response to another tweet which pointed out an alleged similarity in appearance between the man depicted in the sketch and Daniel’s ex-husband. Trump’s tweet was merely expressing an opinion about that supposed physical resemblance, the court ruled, and therefore could not be defamatory. Daniels had argued in her original suit that by using the term “con job,” Trump was accusing her of engaging in criminal fraud. But the Ninth Circuit judges shrugged off that claim as well. “It would be clear to a reasonable reader that the tweet was not accusing (Daniels) of actually committing criminal activity,” the judges wrote. After Daniels won a $400,000 settlement from the city of Columbus, Ohio, stemming from her wrongful arrest there in 2018, Trump’s lawyers petitioned to receive their legal fees in the defamation suit from that settlement cash. But in June of this year, a federal judge in Ohio stopped that claim, ruling that Trump and his attorneys had no right to seize Daniels’ settlement money.  Photo By NBC4 Columbus YouTube Screen Shot 

written by: Lawrence Avery

source: 9th Circuit Rejects Stormy Daniels’ Trump Defamation Suit Appeal | AVN