President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit against his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, seeking $500 million in damages for allegedly breaching his fiduciary duty and spreading lies about him.
The lawsuit, filed in a Florida federal court on Wednesday, accuses Cohen of violating their attorney-client relationship and a confidentiality agreement by revealing Trump’s confidences and making defamatory statements about him in his books, podcasts, and media appearances.
Cohen, who once called himself Trump’s “fixer”, has turned against his former boss and cooperated with prosecutors in the investigation into the hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other crimes in 2018 and served three years in prison.
Trump, who was indicted last week on 34 charges of falsifying business records related to the payments, has pleaded not guilty and denounced Cohen as a liar and a rat. Trump’s lawyers said in the lawsuit that Cohen has “embarked on a campaign of lies” to smear Trump and profit from his betrayal.
The lawsuit cites several examples of Cohen’s alleged false statements, such as claiming that Trump directed him to make the payments to Daniels, that Trump knew about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians, and that Trump had advanced knowledge of WikiLeaks’ release of hacked Democratic emails.
The lawsuit also alleges that Cohen violated his contract with Trump by publishing two books about him without his consent, hosting a podcast called “Mea Culpa” where he criticizes Trump and his supporters, and appearing on various media outlets to attack Trump and his policies.
The lawsuit claims that Cohen’s actions have caused “irreparable harm” to Trump’s reputation and business interests, and seeks $500 million in compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an injunction to stop Cohen from further violating his contract.
Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, said in a statement that the lawsuit is “another example of Mr. Trump using and abusing the judicial system as a form of harassment and intimidation” and that Cohen “will not be deterred and is confident that the suit will fail based on the facts and the law.”
This is not the first time that Trump has sued Cohen for breach of contract. In 2019, Trump filed a similar lawsuit in New York state court, seeking $20 million in damages from Cohen for violating their nondisclosure agreement. That lawsuit was dismissed by a judge in February 2020.
Trump’s latest lawsuit comes amid his ongoing legal battles in New York, where he faces criminal charges from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and civil investigations from the New York Attorney General’s Office. Both probes are looking into his business dealings, tax returns, and financial transactions.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the investigations a “witch hunt” motivated by political bias. He has also vowed to fight back against what he calls the “radical left” and their “fake news” allies.