Stormy Daniels sues Donald Trump for defamation


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/30/stormy-sues-trump-for-defamati.html


#2


#3

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#4

I don’t really have any knowledge of defamation so I can’t really speak to whether this case is reasonable. It kind of seems like notoriety would work in Stormy’s favor career-wise. I’ve nothing against Stormy and wish her well in her endeavors.

On the other hand, There are many, many things the dRumpf administration has done that I disapprove of and I can’t think of a single thing they’ve done of which I approve. (Surely there must be something they’ve done purely by accident if nothing else, right?) As a result I am all for whatever causes chaos, headaches and interference for the current administration. My best hope for dRumpf’s administration is that they are tangled in as many scandels, court decisions and demonstrations as possible so that they achieve as little as possible and are soundly voted out in 2020.

I’d love to see dRumpf being forced to resign or go to jail or you know, anything that gets him out of office but then there’s still The Grumpy StinkBug (Pence) so it’s a tossup to see if that would be any better. Ugh, I’d hate to see dRumpf forced to resign in 2019 then the stinkbug looking so moderate and good in comparison for a year that he got re-elected.


#5

Considering his Twitter habits, I am absolutely flabbergasted that Trump has not been sued more often for defamation of character. I guess he’s insulated from getting sued a zillion times because most of the time he tweets about public figures?


#6

Defamation is a tough one to win in part because of the first amendment. You need to prove malicious intent and that you were materially affected by the slander.

Comey and McCabe may have a case here - Trump has frequently and very publicly slandered them and abused position of power to try to destroy their reputation and careers. They can likely prove significant emotional and financial losses from his actions - especially if it’s proven that Trump knowingly lied with intent to harm them.

Daniels, I’m less convinced about as Trump hasn’t really said much of anything about her at all (yet). I certainly wish her the best of luck, though!


#7

This feels like a dis. Presumably a person can object to being called a liar in public regardless of their profession.

There are some kinds of statements where damages are assumed. You still have to prove the statement was false, but not not show the material damages. Allegations that someone committed a crime are an example.

So I opened the actual complaint and there it is:

[Trump’s statement] also operates to accuse Ms. Clifford of committing a crime under New York law, as well as the law of numerous other states, in that it effectively states that Ms. Clifford falsely accused an individual of committing a crime against her when no such crime occurred.

and

Mr. Trump’s statement was defamatory per se.

So she’s not going to try to prove damages. The burden will be on her in court to prove against a balance of probabilities (not beyond a reasonable doubt) that the incident really happened and that the sketch was a real attempt to sketch the man in question. Basically, if the judge believes that the incident really happened then Trump’s statement was defamatory.

The first amendment does do a lot for people in the US in terms of stopping pointless defamation suits, but if you say people committed crimes they didn’t commit, it doesn’t do a whole lot for you (in most states - I did some quick googling to make sure I understood this right and was surprised there are a few where this isn’t true).

I remember the opening of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit, where Penn explained that if they called someone a liar they could get sued, but if they called someone a motherfucker and said their statements were bullshit, they couldn’t be. Here, Trump may have gone too far out of the domain of insult and too deep into the domain of false and defamatory statements.


#8

What is a realistic timeline for such a lawsuit?


#9

A long fucking time. Most likely, Trump will be out of office before it goes to trial.

An example from the world of people who don’t have a lot of money to hire big expensive law firms that can slow things down to a crawl. My mother sued her sister for stealing money from their father while he was senile. It took years to gather evidence of the theft and determine that the legal authorities were not going to press charges. So they filed a lawsuit. From the start of the lawsuit to the trial took something like 3 years.Getting from the trial to the judge making a determination and then a bit later awarding damages took about nine months. (My aunt appealed, so a decade later the legal wrangling is still going on and my mother has received nothing, although the lawyers are nearly $100,000 richer).


#10

Yeah, but making him testify about his thugs under oath would be worth it even if it didn’t wind up technically meeting the definition of defamation.


#11

Look for an anti-SLAPP motion to be filed in Texas in the near future.


#12

I can’t imagine that being labeled a liar and seen as unbalanced or delusional would work in a businesswoman’s favor at all. The extra exposure (no pun intended) she’s getting from being in the news a lot may or may not be helping her brand - she’s pissing off the MAGAts, after all, and I’m sure they make up some significant part of her customer base.


#13

They fuck up all the time, so, there’s that.


#14

Isn’t this really all about “discovery”, and what her lawyers might find burrowing into the steaming pile of shit that is the Trump Cohen Nexus?


#15

Stormy Daniels Day! It’s time America!


#16

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’d love to see this go to trial for the sheer entertainment value. I’m also cognizant that much like the Sandy Hook survivors’ suit against Alex Jones a victory here is a long shot. If anything it feels more like a publicity stunt than anything real.

The Popehat explainer (from an actual lawyer) I think pretty succinctly lays down the facts, and those are that Trump’s words are just too vague to be considered truly defamatory. (In many ways they just make Trump look like more of an idiot – I mean, how could he know anything about this “nonexistent man” if he didn’t have something to do with it to begin with?) Previous defamation lawsuits against Trump with far more ground to stand on have already been dismissed.


#17

This has been my position, as well. Let’s elect a Dem Congress, and hope they can rein him in, but let’s not give Pence a year or so to look presidential. Normal incumbents are hard to unseat.


#18

This is interesting, as it is a much more specific and literal statement and not merely a matter of opinion. Or does the law consider that the word has lost the original meaning and is now in the general lexicon of non-specific insults?


#19

I was thinking in terms of “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”.

Also, if dRumpf tweeted tomorrow that you were a liar I’d assume that you weren’t and were just about to drop some truth on him. Sure the MAGA hats might make some noise but if they’re the kind to buy porn I doubt they’d let this affect their purchasing habits.

I’m curious though where the majority of porn producers fall in the political spectrum. Maybe the are hardcore conservative Republicans and this kind of publicity would be bad.


#20

The last time someone sued him for defamation over a tweet it basically got dismissed on the grounds “Trump is a buffoon who spouts ridiculous bullshit and insults all day long, so why would anyone take anything he says on Twitter seriously?”

I have to admit it’s a fair point.