The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ordered former President Donald Trump to mediate with adult film star Stormy Daniels over additional appellate attorney fees in her failed defamation lawsuit against him.
A three-judge panel ruled last week that Daniels must pay Trump’s defense fees for her unsuccessful appeal in her defamation lawsuit against him. But the judges didn’t sign off on the specific $127,122.56 amount requested by Trump’s lawyers, which Daniels’ lawyers called “just not reasonable.”
Instead, they directed Trump and Daniels, whose personal relationship erupted into public warfare in 2018, to the Ninth Circuit’s appellate commissioner, Lisa Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is experienced with the case: In March, she awarded Trump $245,209.67 in attorney fees for the initial appellate work, about $27,000 less than requested. But she opted not to wade into the dispute over appellate fees last week, instead referring Trump and Daniels to the Ninth Circuit’s mediator “because the dispute in this case could benefit from mediation efforts.”
“Disputes over the amount of attorney fees recoverable on appeal are often settled through the court’s mediation program,” according to the Sept. 29 order. “The Circuit Mediator is requested to inform the Appellate Commissioner of the outcome of the mediation.”
The mediation order comes amid a pending fee request from Daniels in a lawsuit she filed against Trump in Los Angeles County Superior Court over her nondisclosure agreement. The former president already has been ordered to pay Daniels $44,100 to cover her defense attorney fees at the trial court, but the judgment has been applied to the $292,052.33 Daniels owes him for the money he spent on defense attorney at the trial court level.
All told, Daniels currently owes Trump $493,162. That’s bound to change once the additional fee dispute is decided, and Daniels’ attorneys also have a pending motion in LA Superior Court seeking an additional $52,036.25 in attorney fees and $2,400 in costs. But by all calculations, the litigation is destined to end with Daniels owing Trump much more than he’s been ordered to pay her.
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