NBC News reports:
A federal judge dismissed adult film star Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump on Monday, finding a tweet by Trump to be constitutionally protected speech.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has claimed that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 and was warned by an unidentified man to keep quiet about it five years later, after she gave an interview to a gossip magazine.
In April, she worked with a forensic artist to create a sketch of the man, who she said told her to leave Trump alone and suggested that something bad could happen to her. Trump responded by tweeting: “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”
From the Hollywood Reporter:
Trump moved to have the complaint stricken under Texas’ anti-SLAPP statute, which provides special protection against frivolous litigation usurping one’s free speech activity.
Charles Harder, his attorney, argued that the statement at issue represented protected opinion and that Daniels hadn’t sufficiently alleged damages nor stated facts to show Trump acted with actual malice.
Daniels won’t get the opportunity to amend her complaint to cure deficiencies, and what’s more under Texas’ anti-SLAPP statute, she now has to pay Trump’s legal costs — perhaps a rubbing of salt in the wound to those who contributed to Daniels’ legal defense fund. However, she does have a right to pursue an appeal.
Re Judge’s limited ruling: Daniels’ other claims against Trump and Cohen proceed unaffected. Trump’s contrary claims are as deceptive as his claims about the inauguration attendance.
We will appeal the dismissal of the defamation cause of action and are confident in a reversal.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) October 15, 2018