President Trump on Tuesday assailed adult-film star Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti, who is mulling a 2020 presidential run and is one of the president’s most vocal critics, after a federal judge tossed a defamation lawsuit against the president on Monday.
“I just beat him in a big case. … Beat him badly. In fact, he has to pay me legal fees,” Trump told Fox Business’ Trish Regan. “I don’t think he has any money, but he and she have to pay me a lot of legal fees. Based on Texas law — I love Texas — based on Texas law, where the legal fees are nice and plentiful.”
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, maintains she had an affair with Trump. She sued the president in April over a tweet in which he denied her claims of being threatened by a man in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011.
“A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!” Trump tweeted in April.
Daniels, in an exclusive “60 Minutes” interview, said a man threatened her for going public about the alleged sexual encounter with Trump back in 2006.
Trump has denied the affair allegations but acknowledges a hush-money payment was made.
As Fox News previously reported, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero on Monday threw out the defamation argument, saying the tweet “constitutes ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ normally associated with politics and public discourse in the U.S.”
He ruled, “The First Amendment protects this type of rhetorical statement.”
The federal judge, in Los Angeles, ordered Daniels, a Texas resident, to pay the president’s legal fees. The amount that Daniels would need to pay will be determined later, Trump’s attorney, Charles Harder, said Monday night.
Trump told Regan that he’ll hold them to account over those fees: “Wouldn’t you be disappointed if I said no? No, no, they’ll pay a lot.”
Fox Business Network's Trish Regan contributed to this report.