LOS ANGELES (CN) – A federal judge on Monday approved adult film actress Stormy Daniels’ request to dismiss defamation claim against President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, sued Trump seeking to invalidate the nondisclosure agreement to keep quiet about an affair she claims to have had with the president, which she says the president never signed. The agreement was facilitated by Cohen and shell company Essential Consultants, and resulted in Trump paying Daniels $130,000.
She added defamation claims against Cohen over comments he made when news of the agreement became public knowledge.
“Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage,” Cohen said in February 2018. “I will always protect Mr. Trump.”
Daniels claimed Cohen’s comments defamed her and represented a veiled attempt to silence her.
After a stay of proceedings in the case due to a criminal probe of Cohen in New York that touched on circumstances of Daniels’ claims, Daniels filed a brief indicating she intended to drop the defamation claim against Cohen. She did so in November, leading U.S. District Judge James Otero to dismiss the claim with prejudice Monday.
In the 8-page order, Otero also denied as moot Cohen’s request to strike the claim.
“In an ironic twist, not granting plaintiff leave to amend the [first amended complaint] may prejudice defendant Cohen and [Essential Consultants] by forcing them to continue to litigate a meritless defamation claim,” Otero wrote.
Otero also denied Cohen’s request for attorney fees, since Daniels cannot bring the same claim against him again.
On Twitter, Avenatti said Otero sided with Daniels.
“We did not lose anything,” Avenatti tweeted. “We won the motion and Cohen lost across the board.”
In an email, he said: “We asked that the minor defamation claim be dismissed and it was because the court sided with us and against Cohen. The court already stated we received everything we asked for because Cohen and Trump were forced to admit we were right all along relating to the NDA.”
Cohen’s attorney Brent Blakely disagreed with that assessment.
“Today’s ruling dismissing Ms. Daniels’ defamation claim ‘with prejudice’ is a clear win for Michael Cohen,” Blakely said in an email. “Rather than fighting in court, Ms. Daniels and her attorney instead chose to abandon the case – the legal equivalent of running away. When a plaintiff’s claim has been dismissed ‘with prejudice,’ the defendant, in this case Mr. Cohen, is the prevailing party. No amount of spin on behalf of Ms. Daniels or her attorney can alter this result.”