President Donald Trump’s legal team asked a court on Monday for just shy of $800,000 in penalties and lawyers’ fees from adult-film star Stormy Daniels for the failed defamation lawsuit she brought against the president.
According to Fox News, Trump’s legal team is coming after Daniels big time after they were forced to spend several months fighting her in court.
Attorney Charles Harder, who is part of Trump’s legal team, said his firm spent over 500 hours on the case, which resulted in almost $390,000 is legal fees for Trump.
Harder also requested in court that the judge award an equal amount in sanctions to combat against a “repeat filer or frivolous defamation cases.”
Harder is requesting $390,000 in legal fees and then an additional $390,000 in penalties, bringing the total to $780,000.
“This action is virtually unprecedented in American legal history,” Harder wrote in the court filings, adding that Daniels “not only brought a meritless claim for defamation against the sitting president of the United States, but she also has engaged, along with her attorney, in massive national publicity.”
Judge S. James Otero, who presides over the case, admitted that Harder’s fees — as much as $840 an hour — were reasonable, but reportedly raised questions about the 500 hours that were spent on the case.
Otero also reportedly didn’t make a ruling or express an opinion on Harder requesting penalties, but he did question whether attorneys’ fees alone would serve as a deterrent from future defamation cases against Trump.
Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, called the penalties “absurd and outrageous.”
“You can’t just pick a number out of thin air in an effort to put my client under Donald Trump’s thumb and intimidate her,” Avenatti said.
Avenatti has faced legal trouble of his own recently.
Daniels’ profile skyrocketed after she claimed that she had an affair with Trump in 2006. Daniels is currently locked in a court battle with Trump and Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal attorney, over the nondisclosure agreement she signed in late 2016.
The president has vehemently denied the affair and is fighting it out in court.
She filed a defamation suit against Trump earlier this year and attempted to sue him after the president responded via Twitter to a sketch Daniels released.
The sketch showed the man Daniels claims “threatened” her years ago to stay quiet about the alleged affair. The alleged man has not been identified, and Trump tweeted about it in April.
A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)! https://t.co/9Is7mHBFda
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2018
Otero ruled in October that Trump’s statement on Twitter was “rhetorical hyperbole” against a political adversary and was protected speech under the First Amendment.
The judge also ruled that Trump is entitled to legal fees, which is what Daniels and Avenatti are fighting.
If Trump’s legal team is awarded anywhere close to the $780,000 they have requested, that would be a significant victory for the president in the case.