Former President Trump sued his former fixer Michael Cohen on Wednesday over breach of contract and other claims, hitting back at his former personal attorney who has since turned against the 45th president.
The 32-page complaint takes aim at Cohen’s book, podcast and many media appearances, alleging he maliciously worked to acquire attention and wealth at Trump’s expense. The suit asks for damages in an amount to be determined at trial, although the complaint says the amount is “expected to substantially exceed” $500 million.
“Defendant breached the contractual terms of the confidentiality agreement he signed as a condition of employment with Plaintiff by both revealing Plaintiff’s confidences, and spreading falsehoods about Plaintiff with malicious intent and to wholly self-serving ends,” the complaint states.
Fox News was the first to report the lawsuit being filed.
Cohen is expected to serve as a key witness in the Manhattan District Attorney’s criminal prosecution of Trump over hush money payments prosecutors say Cohen made on Trump’s behalf to hide an affair. The lawsuit does not mention Trump’s recent indictment directly, but the claims include Cohen’s statements about the hush payment arrangement at the center of Trump’s case.
Michael Cohen talks to reporters as he arrives to testify before a grand jury in New York, Monday, March 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
The suit, which was filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida, alleges Cohen has regularly revealed information that was deemed confidential by the nature of their attorney-client relationship, with Trump further claiming that significant portions of Cohen’s claims are false.
In particular, the lawsuit revolves around the contents of Cohen’s 2020 book, “Disloyal,” and a podcast he launched the same year, called “Mea Culpa.”
“Despite being advertised as a factual memoir, Disloyal is replete with mischaracterizations, falsehoods, and flat-out misrepresentations about Plaintiff,” the suit states.
The Hill has reached out to Cohen’s attorney for comment.
Trump last week was arraigned on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in New York, becoming the first former president to face criminal charges.
The case centers on a $130,000 hush payment that Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election.
Manhattan prosecutors plan to largely rest on campaign laws to prosecute the former president for obscuring his reimbursement of the payment to Cohen. Cohen testified before the grand jury that voted to indict Trump and is expected to be a key witness in the prosecution.
The suit mentions four times that Cohen hosted Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, on his podcast, claiming the episodes delved “into the details of her allegations against Plaintiff and revealing purported client confidences about Defendant’s role in that matter, but failing to make plain that Plaintiff relied on Defendant’s legal advice, and Plaintiff acted out of a desire to protect his family from the malicious and false claims made by Clifford.”
Trump further sued Cohen for an additional $74,000 over a reimbursement the former president argues Cohen wasn’t entitled to. Cohen has said he “loaded up” on the reimbursement to “sneakily” increase his compensation.
Despite being a small amount compared to the broader lawsuit, the payment is reportedly the same as one mentioned in Cohen’s 2018 guilty plea in federal court.
That would also mean the reimbursement in question was included as part of the 11 monthly checks Trump wrote to Cohen, each of which now correspond to a felony charge in Trump’s criminal case.
Updated 5:01 p.m.