Stormy Daniels (aka Stephanie Clifford) filed an accusation of defamation against former President Donald J. Trump in the year 2018. In the lawsuit, Daniels alleged that Trump's tweet in response to her release of an image of a man, who she claimed threatened her when she agreed to give a press interview about the alleged incident in 2006, suggested that she was a fraud. The tweet read “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”
Federal District Court Judge Josephine L. Staton dismissed the original suit, concluding that Trump's remarks were protected by free speech and weren't defamatory. Additionally, Judge Staton granted Trump $233,000 in legal costs as well as sanctions. Daniels appealed the decision all the way to the Supreme Court, which did not decide to hear the appeal in February 2021.
Not to delve too far into the complexities of procedural law, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that the attorney-fee amount was not a final judgment when it was entered in December 2018 and, therefore, the appeal that was filed in August 2020, was not timely and should be dismissed. (Daniels's ex-advocate, Michael Avenatti, was not available to comment). The ruling, which was made via the unpublished decision, was released on Monday evening.
In the wake of the ruling ,Trump's lawyers, including Harmeet Dhillon, and Mark Meuser of Dhillon Law Group, celebrated the victory.
Trump made a statement in regards to the ruling:
“The 9th Circuit just issued a final ruling in the Stormy Daniels (aka Stormy Daniels) frivolous lawsuit case against me brought by her disgraced lawyer, Michael Avenatti,” the statement starts. In typical Trump style, he says, “The lawsuit was a purely political stunt that never should have been started, or allowed to happen, and I am pleased that my lawyers were able to bring it to a successful conclusion after the court fully rejected her appeal. Now all I have to do is wait for the money she owes me.”
Then there was the coup de grace: “P.S. The Fake News probably won't report this story!”