Trump Fires Back at Michael Cohen in New Legal Drama

Trump Fires Back at Michael Cohen in New Legal Drama
Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower the day after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York on Aug. 9, 2022. (David 'Dee' Delgado/Reuters)
Jack Phillips

Former President Trump on Monday filed court papers that sought to block an attempt by Michael Cohen to dismiss a Trump lawsuit accusing his former lawyer of breaching his fiduciary duty "by spreading falsehoods."

"Despite Cohen's arguments to the contrary, the Complaint alleges that Cohen was conferred substantial benefits during his representation of the Plaintiff and utilized such benefits for purposes of obtaining selfish, financial profit at the expense of Plaintiff," Trump's attorney Alejandro Britto said in a complaint (pdf) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

What's more, the complaint alleged Cohen engaged in "egregious breaches of fiduciary duty and contract" in connection to a podcast and books that are "intended to be embarrassing or detrimental" to Trump.

It comes months after Trump's lawyers filed a lawsuit against Cohen, saying the former attorney broke confidentiality agreements with Trump. His lawyers are seeking some $500 million in damages.

Trump accused Cohen of "egregious breaches of fiduciary duty and contract" in connection with the publication of books and the production of a podcast.

The lawsuit, filed in Miami in April, may offer a preview of arguments that are sure to be featured in Trump’s defense against charges that he allegedly falsified internal business records to disguise payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign. That month, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office charged Trump in a high-profile incident in lower Manhattan; Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges and said they're attempts to interfere in the 2024 election.

Cohen’s spokesman, attorney Lanny Davis, told The Associated Press that the lawsuit will not deter Cohen’s cooperation with prosecutors. “Mr. Trump appears once again to be using and abusing the judicial system as a form of harassment and intimidation against Michael Cohen,” Davis said. “It appears he is terrified by his looming legal perils and is attempting to send a message to other potential witnesses who are cooperating with prosecutors against him.”

Cohen's attorneys argued that Trump's lawsuit failed to properly state a claim and said it was a bid to silence a government witness in the prosecution of Trump.

"The complaint, frivolous and scattershot, is an abusive act of pure retaliation and witness intimidation, albeit a ham-fisted one. It must be dismissed as a matter of law," his lawyers said.

Michael Cohen (R) leaves his Park Avenue apartment in New York City to begin serving a three-year sentence at a federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., on May 6, 2019. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
Michael Cohen (R) leaves his Park Avenue apartment in New York City to begin serving a three-year sentence at a federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., on May 6, 2019. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

However, Trump's attorneys contended that Cohen, who spent several years in federal prison on fraud charges, presented poor legal arguments.

"Cohen discusses the rulings in unrelated legal matters, makes references to various news articles designed to taint this Court's view of the Plaintiff and this case, unnecessarily injects invectives designed to exacerbate this already caustic matter," Britto wrote Monday.


Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to tax evasion, lying to Congress, and campaign finance violations regarding the payments in 2016. He was sentenced to three years in a prison in Otisville, New York, although the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic enabled him to serve the majority of the sentence under house arrest.

Although federal prosecutors referenced Trump in the charges against Cohen, they chose not to pursue a criminal case against him. Neither did investigators in the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, who conducted a wide-ranging probe through much of Trump’s presidency before ultimately finding that now-discredited claims that the former president colluded with the Russian government were unsubstantiated.

In the days before the indictment against Trump was unsealed, Cohen, who has frequently criticized Trump during appearances on MSNBC and CNN since he took office, reportedly testified multiple times before a Manhattan grand jury regarding the alleged hush-money scheme.

Cohen has met with prosecutors 20 times through several iterations of the hush-money probe, according to AP. In January, he gave his cell phones to Manhattan prosecutors so they could extract evidence, including voice recordings of conversations he had with a lawyer for adult performer Stormy Daniels as well as emails and text messages.

A lawyer with close ties to Trump, Robert Costello, also told reporters that he also testified before the grand jury and sought to denigrate Cohen's testimony. He noted that Cohen is a "convicted perjurer" who has "no solid" evidence against the former president.

“I’m the one who decided to do this. A lot of people cautioned me against it because I have nothing to gain. The only thing I’m doing is trying to tell the truth to the grand jurors because I read all these lies in the media that are being promoted by one side,” said Costello, who acted as a legal adviser to Cohen several years ago. “If you see the full picture … If they want to go after Donald Trump and they have solid evidence, so be it.”

“But Michael Cohen is far from solid evidence,” said Costello. “This guy, by any prosecutor's standard—and I used to be deputy chief of the criminal division in the Southern District of New York—I wouldn’t have touched a guy like Michael Cohen, especially if he’s a convicted perjurer.”

The Epoch Times has contacted Davis, Cohen's lawyer, for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.