The Staggering Amount Of Debt Stormy Daniels Is Reportedly In

Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has an astronomical amount of financial debt. Best known for her alleged 2006 affair with former President Donald Trump and the subsequent $130,000 hush money payment from Trump's ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, during the 2016 election, Daniels reportedly has a net worth of $1 million. Yet, she faces a daunting amount of legal debt. Ironically, Daniels, who testified against Trump in his ongoing hush money trial — where he is accused of orchestrating the payoff to influence the election — owes a hefty six-figure sum in legal fees to the former president.

In 2018, Daniels and her then-lawyer, Michael Avenatti, sued Trump for defamation of character after he denied her account of someone attempting to intimidate her into not speaking about the politician in public. According to The New York Times, Trump took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to denounce a sketch she'd posted of the man who'd approached her in a parking lot, likening it to "a total con job." However, the court ruled against Daniels in both the initial case and her appeal, leaving her responsible for paying over $560,000 in legal fees to Trump. And while Daniels has proudly asserted that she has no plans to pay up, her failed lawsuit isn't the only source of her financial woes.

Stormy Daniels didn't initially want to sue Donald Trump

Stormy Daniels may have gotten on board with suing Donald Trump for defamation of character, but she claimed years later that her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, actually coerced her into filing the lawsuit and then left her to deal with the legal fees after their loss. "Avenatti filed this lawsuit without my permission and against my wishes," tweeted Daniels in March 2022. "Once it was filed, Trump's lawyers overwhelmed Avenatti and I was left the victim of an attorney's fee award." Daniels also revealed that Avenatti attempted to appeal the ruling but filed the paperwork too late "because he's a terrible excuse for an attorney."

Although it's been several years since Daniels lost her case, her legal obligation to Trump came up again when she took the witness stand during his hush money trial. At one point in the trial, Trump's lawyer, Susan Necheles, asked Daniels if her desire to skirt her financial judgment had motivated her desire to testify against him. "Isn't it true that you are hoping that if Donald Trump is convicted, you'll never have to pay him the more than half-a-million-dollars you owe him?" asked Necheles during court in May 2024, according to The Wall Street Journal. Daniels responded, "I hope I don't have to pay him no matter what happens."

Stormy Daniels has also faced other legal trouble

Stormy Daniels has many reasons to be unhappy with her former lawyer, Michael Avenatti, as he was actually one of the greatest contributors to her financial hardship. In June 2022, Aventatti, who has faced a litany of other legal setbacks in recent years, was sentenced to four years in prison after stealing $300,000 from Daniels. Avenatti apologized to Daniels in court and was ordered to pay her nearly $150,000 in restitution. At the time, Avenatti's legal responsibility to Daniels took precedence over his other legal debt, including legal fees stemming from a failed lawsuit against Nike.

That said, Daniels' track record within the court system hasn't been a complete strikeout. In 2019, the former adult film actor settled a lawsuit she'd launched against Columbus, Ohio, following her 2018 arrest for touching a patron at a strip club, which is illegal in the state. And while her three misdemeanor charges, reportedly brought on by cops who supported Donald Trump, didn't hold up, she was later awarded $450,000. "It was the changes that were made in bringing awareness to how the law isn't written fairly and they targeted me and other women," said Daniels in a statement obtained by CNN. "I'm really proud of how the city of Columbus stepped up and took responsibility in actively making changes and holding those officers accountable."