A federal judge in Los Angeles indicated Monday that he's inclined to dismiss a defamation lawsuit by adult move star Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, against President Donald Trump.
The suit against Trump stems from her lawyer's release in April of a composite sketch of an unknown man who Clifford claims threatened her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 for agreeing to cooperate with a magazine article about a tryst she says she had with Trump in 2006. In an April tweet Trump called the man "nonexistent" and characterized the sketch as "a total con job."
U.S. District Judge S. James Otero at Monday's hearing said that considering such statements as defamation would have a chilling effect on candidates running for office and hamper political discourse.
"This appears to be rhetorical hyperbole by a public official involving a public figure," Otero said.
Trump asked that the case be dismissed because his tweet was a "protected opinion" and Clifford wasn't harmed but only has benefited financially from her public dispute with him.
Read Judge Leans Toward Tossing Stormy Daniels Defamation Suit Against Trump on bloombergpolitics.com