A federal judge dismissed Stormy Daniels' defamation lawsuit against President Trump on Monday, saying the president made a "hyperbolic statement" against a political adversary when he tweeted about a composite sketch the porn actress' lawyer released, the AP reports. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, sued Trump in April after he said a composite sketch of a man she said threatened her in 2011 to keep quiet about an alleged affair with the real estate mogul was a "con job." Trump tweeted that the man was "nonexistent" and that Daniels was playing the "fake news media for fools." He retweeted a side-by-side photo comparing the sketch with a photo of Daniels' husband. US District Judge S. James Otero ruled Trump's statement was protected speech under the First Amendment.
"If this Court were to prevent Mr. Trump from engaging in this type of 'rhetorical hyperbole' against a political adversary, it would significantly hamper the office of the President," the judge wrote. Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, vowed to appeal the decision and said he was confident it would be reversed. "There is something really rich in Trump relying on the First Amendment to justify defaming a woman," Avenatti said. Charles Harder, the president's lawyer, immediately hailed the ruling as a "total victory" for Trump. The judge's ruling also entitles Trump to collect attorneys' fees from Daniels, Harder said. The defamation claim is separate from another lawsuit that Daniels filed against Trump, regarding her release from a nondisclosure charge, which is continuing. (Daniels says she is sorry about "body-shaming" Trump in her new memoir.)
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