A USA judge on Monday dismissed adult film actress Stormy Daniels's defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump and ordered her to pay his attorney's fees, saying a tweet the president had written referring to her was protected by free-speech laws.
The lawsuit came after Trump tweeted about a composite sketch of a man Daniels says threatened her in 2011 to keep quiet about an alleged affair.
Daniels said the man was threatening her for going public about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
But the judge ruled that the tweet was protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech.
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Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said they would appeal the decision.
"There is something really rich in Trump relying on the First Amendment to justify defaming a woman", Avenatti added about the decision. She said Trump's tweets made her look like a liar.
"No amount of spin or commentary by Stormy Daniels or her lawyer, Mr. Avenatti, can truthfully characterize today's ruling in any way other than total victory for President Trump and total defeat for Stormy Daniels", Trump's attorney, Charles Harder, said in a statement.
The case is Clifford v. Trump, 18-cv-06893, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).
Mr Trump responded by dismissing her claims in a tweet, saying: "A sketch years later about a non-existent man".
"In making the statement, Mr. Trump used his national and global audience of millions of people to make a false factual statement to denigrate and attack Ms. Clifford", stated the original April 30 defamation filing in New York Supreme Court by Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti after Trump let off on social media. "Trump's contrary claims are as deceptive as his claims about the inauguration attendance", Avenatti wrote on Twitter, saying he was "confident in a reversal".
Daniels' lawsuit over a hush-money deal is pending.
Harder argued that Trump's statement ought to be considered protected speech, and that Daniels did not identify specific damages.
In an interview with CBS News earlier this year, Stormy Daniels said a stranger approached her while she was with her young daughter and threatened her.
He branded the ruling "limited" and said it will not affect her primary case against Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen, which seeks to invalidate her 2016 nondisclosure agreement.