Stormy Daniels blasts Trump's 'staggering' request for nearly $350,000 in legal fees

  • Porn star Stormy Daniels and her lawyer Michael Avenatti ask a federal judge to drastically reduce President Donald Trump's demand for nearly $350,000 in attorney's fees in a recently dismissed defamation suit.
  • Avenatti argues that the $341,559.50 requested for an alleged 509.25 hours of attorney time is a "staggering and grossly inflated sum."
  • The proper figure is closer to $25,000, Avenatti says in the court document, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
President Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels.
Getty Images
President Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels.

Porn star Stormy Daniels asked a federal judge to drastically reduce President Donald Trump's demand for nearly $350,000 in attorney's fees in her recently dismissed defamation suit.

Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, argued that the $341,559.50 requested for an alleged 509.25 hours of attorney time is a "staggering and grossly inflated sum."

The proper figure is closer to $25,000, Avenatti said in the court filing Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, sued Trump for defamation in April, arguing that he had suggested she was falsely accusing a man of a crime when he tweeted that her statements on daytime talk show "The View" were a "total con job."

But Judge S. James Otero dismissed her suit in October, saying Trump's tweet was "the definition of protected rhetorical hyperbole." Otero also ruled that the president was entitled to be paid his attorneys' fees by Daniels.

Trump's attorney, Charles Harder, argued in a late-October court filing that "any questions regarding the reasonableness of Mr. Trump's fees should be resolved in favor of Mr. Trump."

He continued: "This action is virtually unprecedented in American legal history. Plaintiff not only brought a meritless claim for defamation against the sitting President of the United States, but she also has engaged, along with her attorney, in massive national publicity relating to the case."

Avenatti had no comment beyond the court filing. Harder did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

In the court filing, Avenatti said the amount requested was "anything but reasonable."

Trump's accounting of his attorney's fees includes 47 hours for "initial analysis, strategy and defense" totaling $34,707.97, and 143 hours spent on the "motion to transfer" the case to California totaling $63,975. Avenatti argued that the president should get nothing for those actions because Trump "fails to meet his burden to establish" that the relevant laws include them.

Excluding those 190 hours, Avenatti also said the remaining amount of $203,874 for an alleged 319 hours of work is "'excessive' and 'extreme.'" The rates of Trump's five attorneys on the case range from $307.60 per hour, up to Harder's rate of $841.64 per hour. "These rates are not reasonable under the circumstances," Avenatti said.

In total, Avenatti said, Trump "should not recover more than roughly $25,000 in connection with these motions."

Daniels is also suing Trump and his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen in a related case in Los Angeles to void a $130,000 nondisclosure agreement she signed weeks before the 2016 presidential election. That deal was meant to muzzle her from discussing an alleged affair with Trump from years earlier.

Trump has denied having sex with Daniels.

After Otero dismissed the defamation suit, Trump lashed out at Daniels, calling her "horseface" in a tweet.

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