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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Stormy Daniels Rejected by Supreme Court in Suit Against Trump

The U.S. Supreme Court turned away an appeal by adult film star Stormy Daniels, refusing to revive her lawsuit accusing former President Donald Trump of defaming her on Twitter.

Trump’s 2018 tweet suggested that Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was lying when she said an unknown man threatened her in a parking lot in 2011 after she agreed to cooperate with a magazine story about what she says was her sexual relationship with Trump.

A federal appeals court threw out the suit, saying Clifford’s allegations fell short of meeting the standard for defamation under Texas law. The Supreme Court made no comment Monday in refusing to hear her appeal.

Clifford helped prepare a sketch of the man in 2018 when she went public with her story. Trump later retweeted a post that put the sketch next to a photo of Clifford’s ex-husband with a mocking message suggesting the two men resembled each other.

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“A sketch years later about a nonexistent man,” Trump said in his retweet. “A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Trump’s tweet was a statement of opinion that couldn’t be grounds for a lawsuit.

“Because the tweet juxtaposing the two images was displayed immediately below Mr. Trump’s tweet, the reader was provided with the information underlying the allegedly defamatory statement and was free to draw his or her own conclusions,” the three-judge panel said.

Clifford’s appeal said that, because she sued in federal court, the 9th Circuit shouldn’t have applied a Texas law designed to prohibit strategic lawsuits that threaten speech rights. Trump urged the Supreme Court to reject the appeal without a hearing.

The case is Clifford v. Trump, 20-602.

© Copyright 2021 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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