A federal judge dismissed adult film star Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump yesterday in Federal court. Daniels claimed Trump’s tweet attacked the veracity of her account of the incident and that his tweet was false, defamatory and charged her with a serious crime. In an order handed down Monday, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero said Trump’s tweet was protected under the First Amendment. The judge also ordered Stormy to pay for Trump’s legal fees from the lawsuit.
“If this court were to prevent Mr. Trump from engaging in this type of ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ against a political adversary, it would significantly hamper the Office of the President. Any strongly worded response by a president to another politician or public figure could constitute an action for defamation. This would deprive this country of the discourse common to the political process.” Judge S. James Otero
From the start this defamation suit was going to be a failure. Stormy Daniels was in the right that what Trump tweeted was not appropriate. On April 18th, Trump tweeted that Daniel’s story of a man threatening her not to come forward with her story of her alleged affair with Trump was a ‘total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)’. But with this administration Trump can do or say or tweet whatever he likes and it will be covered under the First Amendment.
With this specific case Trump is acting as a public official. It is extremely difficult to claim defamation from a public official, especially someone in the Presidential office. Even as much as I hate it, Trump is entitled to his opinion. He has a First Amendment right to say whatever he wants even if I don’t agree with it. A lot of what he tweets can be considered straight up lies or defamatory to certain people, but he still has that right. With his rights, come ours. By upholding the First Amendment that allows me to voice my opinion.
There was a line drawn with how far Trump’s First Amendment rights go. If he tries to use his First Amendment rights to block people from his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account, he cannot. A case was brought to a federal court, and a judge ruled that Trump could block no one because his Twitter is a designated public forum. That specific case requires even more thought into the First Amendment. A public official can not block a person from his Twitter account in response to the political views that a person has expressed and whether the analysis differs because that public official is the President of the United States. I find this interesting because while Trump can tweet anything about anyone, defaming someone in the process. Trump can not block them because someone hurts his feelings. I find this karma and agree that Trump should not be able to block people because he has made his Twitter account a public forum where he shares information freely.
Trump being Trump would not be himself if he didn’t comment on the Daniels rulings. In yet another stunningly overt display of sexism, at 11:04am he tweeted out, “‘Federal Judge throws out Stormy Danials lawsuit versus Trump. Trump is entitled to full legal fees.’ @FoxNews Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas. She will confirm the letter she signed! She knows nothing about me, a total con!” Not only does he spell Stormy Daniels last name wrong, but he calls her Horseface. This tweet seems like Trump’s victory lap, considering he was sued for defamation from a tweet, he again defames Stormy. Personally, I don’t know what is worse, knowing that our President thinks like this, or knowing he can tweet like this and no one can do anything about it.
Before learning about First amendment rights I may have disagreed with the decision by the judges ruling regarding stormy Daniel’s defamation suit. However, you are right he can say what he wants. It is embarrassing that the President of the United States ( note I did not say our president, can’t bring myself to say those words as yet) is acting in an unpresidential manner. As fro trump and his fake news rhetoric he has admitted in the pass that he accuses the media of fake news to discredit them and deflect from him and his presidency.
Excellent post. Yes- it was always an uphill battle for Stormy Daniels on this one. Still- it’s important to note the Trump’s rights to say derogatory things are not greater because he is a public official- rather his ability to sue for defamation is severely limited because he is a public official. Indeed, should President trump go after a private citizen on his twitter feed (perhaps responding to a tweet), they might have a case against him where in fact his standing as a public official might very well work against him