The U.S. Supreme Court just dismissed the libel lawsuit Stormy Daniels filed against former President Donald Trump.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will not hear Stormy Daniels’ appeal involving the libel lawsuit she filed against former President Donald Trump. Daniels first filed the lawsuit in federal court in California, and in it, she claimed the former president “defamed her in a 2018 tweet where he questioned her story of being intimidated in a parking lot with her young daughter by a man who threatened her against going public with her claims that she had a sexual affair with Trump in 2006, an affair that Trump denies.”
According to Daniels, as she was “planning to tell her story to a magazine in 2011, a man approached her and said ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.’” The man also allegedly threatened bad things would happen to her if she decided to move forward with the story. Then, in January 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump had been “involved in arranging a substantial hush money payment and nondisclosure agreement with Daniels just weeks before the 2016 election.”
In response to the report, Trump tweeted on April 18, 2018, “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!” He also suggested that the “man who Daniels said threatened her could have actually been her ex-husband.”
Eventually, Daniels’ suit was dismissed by a U.S. District Court and then went to a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that ended up siding with the former president. In doing so, the court “rejected Daniels’ appeal of the dismissal in July 2020.” The panel ruled that Trump’s 2018 tweet “was an expression of opinion based on another user’s tweet and not defamatory.” From there, Daniels filed an appeal in October 2020 to the Supreme Court.
The 9th Circuit panel’s opinion stated:
“Viewed through the eyes of an objectively reasonable reader, the tweet here reflects Mr. Trump’s opinion about the implications of the allegedly similar appearances of Ms. Clifford’s ex-husband and the man in the sketch.”
The panel also noted that “statements of opinion cannot form the basis of a defamation claim.” Additionally, it rejected the claim that “Trump’s reference to a ‘total con job’ amounted to accusing her of criminal fraud.” It further stated:
“It would be clear to a reasonable reader that the tweet was not accusing Clifford of actually committing criminal activity…Instead, as used in this context, the term ‘con job’ could not be interpreted as anything more than a colorful expression of rhetorical hyperbole.”