Trump’s lawyers are citing free speech as a reason Stormy Daniels’ defamation suit should be tossed

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Markets Insider

  • President Donald Trump’s lawyers want to squash a defamation lawsuit the adult-film star Stormy Daniels filed against him earlier this year.
  • A motion filed by Trump’s lawyers in Los Angeles on Monday asks a judge to dismiss the lawsuit, saying it “chills the president’s free speech.” It also claims Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, benefited financially from her public feud with the president.
  • Daniels filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump on April 30 after he publicly cast doubt on her claim that an unidentified man threatened her after she went public with her claim that she and Trump had an affair in 2006. Trump called her claim a “a total con job.”
  • Trump and Daniels are engaged in a very public legal battle over claims that she was paid $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election to keep quiet about the alleged affair.
  • Last week, Trump’s former longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign-finance law in relation to that $130,000 payment.

President Donald Trump’s lawyers want to squash a defamation lawsuit filed against him by the adult-film star Stormy Daniels, arguing that it “chills the president’s free speech.”

Trump’s team filed a motion in a Los Angeles court this week requesting that the court dismiss the lawsuit. The president’s lawyers also claim that Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, benefited financially from her “highly publicized” interactions with the president.

Clifford, who has said she and Trump had an affair in 2006, claimed a man she did not know approached her in Las Vegas in 2011 and told her to keep quiet about her story.

She said the man told her to “leave Trump alone” and made veiled threats at her in the presence of her then-infant daughter.

Trump has publicly dismissed her claims, calling them “a total con job.”

“This suit is designed to chill the President’s free speech rights on matters of public opinion,” Trump’s legal team said.

“Plaintiff has capitalized on her dispute with the president, embarking on a nationwide tour of adult live entertainment venues (a.k.a. strip clubs) for which she admittedly is being paid at least four times her normal appearance fee because of her public controversy with the president.”

The motion also cited Daniels’ career as a slight to her credibility. “There is nothing about Plaintiff’s career as an adult entertainer that requires a reputation for honesty,” the motion said.

Trump and Clifford are engaged in a bitter public legal battle over claims that she was paid $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election to keep quiet about her story that she had a 2006 affair with Trump.

Trump’s former longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty last week to violating campaign-finance law when he arranged that payment for Clifford. Cohen asserted that Trump instructed him to make the payment to protect Trump’s candidacy, implicating Trump in a federal crime.