Stormy Daniels wants a judge to strip down the $341,559.50 in legal fees demanded by President Trump over her recently dismissed defamation claim.
The adult actress and her lawyer Michael Avenatti filed new paperwork in Los Angeles claiming the jaw-dropping sum is “exaggerated and wasteful” and reflects an overall “inflated approach to billing.”
They want the overall amount whittled down to roughly $25,000.
In their main filing, Daniels and Avenatti fault the President for hiring two lawyers charging more than $750 per hour and four other lawyers charging more than $550 per hour to defend him in the case.
“These rates are not reasonable under the circumstances,” the filing obtained by the Daily News argues.
The filing specifically questions why Trump’s lawyers needed 70 hours to draft a five-page reply in support of something already argued and 143 hours to write a “routine” motion to transfer the case.
In a declaration, Avenatti said he required “far less time” for his filings in the case.
“Mr. Trump’s exorbitant request seems to be premised on the notion that the defamation claim was somehow exceptional. In this regard, Mr. Trump references the media attention paid to Plaintiff and her claim, but this did not of course impact the merits of the defamation claim, the motion to strike, or the law governing these issues,” Daniels’ filing argues.
“Mr. Trump’s attorneys point to nothing suggesting they had to spend additional time making any media appearances or speaking with members of the media, or that they had to spend more time on their briefs because of the media attention the case garnered,” it states.
“That the litigation captured some public interest does not render the defamation claim itself more complex or exceptional. As such, this provides no basis for the exorbitant fee request made by Mr. Trump,” the filing argues.
Trump filed his request for the $341,559.50 late last month with his lawyers saying he spent the sky-high sum on filings both before and after a judge ultimately rejected Daniels’ defamation claim in mid-October.
Daniels initially sued the President for defamation on April 30, two weeks after he took to Twitter and dismissed as a “con job” her sketch of an unidentified man who allegedly threatened her in a parking lot.
“Plaintiff filed this action, not because it had any merit, but instead for the ulterior purposes of raising her media profile, engaging in political attacks against the President…and to depose Mr. Trump and take discovery,” Trump’s lawyer Charles Harder said in Trump’s motion for legal fees.
Harder said the defamation claim was so expensive to defend against because Daniels and Avenatti first filed it in New York, even though Daniels already had a related suit against Trump pending in federal court in California.
The earlier underlying suit was filed in Los Angeles in March and remains ongoing. It seeks to break the $130,000 hush money agreement Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen brokered with Daniels in October 2016 related to her claims she had sex with Trump in 2006.
After filing the initial March suit, Daniels and Avenatti went public with claims the adult actress was confronted in the Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 by a mystery man who threatened her to keep quiet over the alleged affair.
She and Avenatti released a sketch on April 17 of the unidentified man they allege threatened her.
Trump scoffed at the sketch a day later in a Twitter post.
“A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!” the President tweeted.
U.S. District Judge James Otero ultimately determined Trump had a right to respond with his tweet.
“Mr. Trump’s statement constituted ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ that is protected by the First Amendment,” Otero wrote in his opinion dismissing the defamation claim.
“To allow (Daniels) to proceed with her defamation action would, in effect, permit her to make public allegations against the President without giving him the opportunity to respond. Such a holding would violate the First Amendment,” the judge ruled.
Avenatti quickly filed a notice of appeal in the case, tweeting that Trump’s “record before the Ninth Circuit has been anything but good.”
Trump still wasted no time going after Daniels for six figures.
He alleges it cost $34,707.97 for lawyers to analyze the defamation claim, $102,977.32 to write a motion to transfer the case back to California, $139,899.21 to file the motion to strike the claim and $63,975.00 to file the motion for attorney’s fees and sanctions.
Daniels’ response filing argues the $139,899.21 and $63,975 amounts should be reduced to roughly $25,000 total.
“The remaining balance of Mr. Trump’s request should be denied,” it states.
Harder revealed in the filing that his hourly rate for the case was $841.64. He also said Trump wants additional sanctions levied against Daniels.
“The conduct of Plaintiff and her counsel suggest they will continue to bring similar claims and meritless lawsuits against Mr. Trump, if sufficient sanctions do not deter them from doing so,” Harder wrote.
“No sanctions should be imposed at all because Mr. Trump has not requested a specific amount and has therefore deprived Plaintiff of the opportunity to meaningfully respond to the request,” Daniels’ latest filing states.
“Alternately, the court should award only nominal sanctions of $1 because there is no need for further deterrence,” it argues.