Judge Orders Stormy Daniels Defamation Lawsuit Against Trump to Be Transferred to California
A New York federal judge has ordered Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump be transferred to a California federal court.
Daniels, an adult film actress whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, offered her consent on Wednesday to transfer the lawsuit despite having previously opposed the move by Trump’s lawyers. New York Judge Jesse Furman granted the request to move the case on Wednesday.
Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told CNN on Thursday that he and his client agreed to move the case to California because they “determined that it would allow us to proceed with a deposition of Mr. Trump more expeditiously and also likely result in a much faster trial.”
Daniels is also suing Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, over the legality of a 2016 hush agreement in which she was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump, which he denies.
In a CBS “60 Minutes” interview in March, Daniels alleged that weeks after she had agreed to sell her affair story to a magazine in 2011, she was confronted by an unknown man who approached her and her baby daughter in a parking lot and said, “Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.”
The defamation suit being transferred to California alleges that Trump attempted to tarnish her reputation and credibility by dismissing her account — and subsequent description — of the man who threatened her in 2011.
The reversal by Daniels comes after lawyers for Trump filed late last month to have the case transferred to California for a number of reasons. They argued the New York case is related to the other suits Daniels filed in California and said Daniels was “forum shopping” — a term used to describe individuals working to have their cases heard in courts that are more likely to rule in their favor.
Trump’s lawyers argued Daniels filed the defamation action in New York to get around an order by Judge James Otero in California, who put the California case on hold because of the “ongoing criminal investigation of Michael Cohen, a defendant and key witness in both California actions.” They said moving the case to California would be in the interests of justice, be more convenient for the parties and witnesses and “ensure consistent rulings by one court rather than potentially inconsistent rulings by multiple courts.”