U.S. District Judge Michael Watson in Columbus ruled that President Donald Trump cannot use a $450,000 settlement adult film actress Stormy Daniels received over a botched arrest at a strip club to cover his attorney fees.
Trump had sought a portion of Daniels’s settlement to cover fees accrued a defamation case that Daniels filed against him in 2018. A federal judge dismissed that case, but Daniels’ lawyers have appealed.
When a judge dismissed Daniels’ case, she was ordered to pay $293,000 to cover Trump’s attorney fees. She was later arrested on misdemeanor indecency charges after at the Sirens Gentlemen’s Club in Columbus on July 11, 2018. Those charges were dropped the following day and Trump’s attorneys had sought a portion of the settlement within days of the city settling.
The defamation case stemmed from a tweet Trump issued in 2018 in which he questioned Daniels’ statements about a man who threatened her and her daughter in a Las Vegas parking lot.
“I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. T– taking, you know, the seats facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag, you know, gettin’ all the stuff out,” Daniels told 60 Minutes correspondent Anderson Cooper. “And a guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.’ And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, “That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.” And then he was gone.”
Daniels says she was threatened to keep quiet about an affair she’d had with Trump in 2006 while he was married to his current wife, Melania, and just a few months after Melania gave birth to their son, Barron. The hush money payments she received from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen prompted concerns that Trump had ordered her silence and violated campaign finance law to safeguard his chances of winning the 2016 general election.