In a Monday hearing, the Stormy Daniels case was brought before an L.A. courtroom and Federal District Judge S. James Otero.
According to CNN, the judge appears to be ready to dismiss the case completely. He said that Donald Trump’s April 2018 tweet seems to fall within the boundaries of free speech, a right guaranteed to all Americans through the First Amendment.
Daniels is suing Trump for his tweets about her, which shed doubts on her claims that she was threatened following an affair she had with Trump.
Michael Avenatti, who is serving as counsel for Daniels, said that he could prove that Trump was acting with malice. The Daniels legal team argued that the tweet was “a false statement of fact, and we intent to prove that it’s a false statement of fact.”
Meanwhile, lawyers representing Donald Trump are arguing to have the defamation case thrown out of court. Further muddying the waters is the money Daniels accepted following her 2006 affair with Trump, which Avenatti wants to question the president about. He wants to ask about when the money was offered to Daniels, and whether or not this transaction took place while Trump was on the presidential campaign trail, according to Yahoo News.
Daniels wants out of the agreement she made to keep silent about the affair so that she can speak publicly about it. Trump’s lawyers have stated that they won’t seek legal punishment against Daniels if she does break the agreement.
Avenatti has been vocally critical of Trump, and has expressed interest in running against the president in the upcoming 2020 campaign.
Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. These agreements are.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2018
...very common among celebrities and people of wealth. In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair,......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2018
Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, has already pleaded guilty to numerous criminal charges. He’s the one who made the $130,000 payment to Daniels to keep her quiet about the affair. Because Cohen is now assisting the Robert Mueller investigation into Russian election tampering, any legal action resulting from the Daniels civil suit could overlap with the federal investigation, according to Fox News.
Excerpts from Daniels’ upcoming book have already been published by CNN. In it, she describes being introduced to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger by Donald Trump and says that she was “terrified” by the experience.
Trump has not admitted to having a sexual relationship with Daniels, but Trump lawyers have admitted the $130,000 payment was made to her. Trump stated while on the campaign trail that he is friends with Roethlisberger.
The quarterback has previously been investigated for sexual assault, and was once suspended by the NFL after one woman accused him of rape.