The former US president has gone after his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen for allegedly violating attorney-client privilege.
Former US President Donald Trump has sued Michael Cohen for more than $500 million in damages, saying his former lawyer damaged his reputation by spreading falsehoods about him and releasing confidential information that he was contractually and legally required to keep secret.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday in US District Court in Miami, accuses Cohen of violating attorney-client privilege and breaching a confidentiality agreement “with malicious intent and to wholly self-serving ends.” The filing comes one week after Trump was arrested on a 34-count criminal indictment in New York City, where Cohen is expected to serve as a key witness to allegations that his then-boss falsified business records to cover up violations of election laws during his successful 2016 presidential campaign.
Cohen began breaching his fiduciary duty as Trump’s lawyer and violating his confidentiality agreement around 2018, when he was facing federal charges for tax evasion, fraud and campaign finance violations, the lawsuit claimed. The most “egregious” breaches occurred in Cohen’s two books and his podcast, the filing said. He also made multiple media appearances, accusing Trump of being racist and suggesting that he might turn over state secrets to America’s enemies to ward off prosecution.
The lawsuit claimed Cohen used insider information about Trump and “numerous inflammatory and false statements” to unjustly enrich himself. He also allegedly overstated his expenses as a Trump employee, claiming $74,000 in fictitious costs.
A $130,000 hush-money payment that Cohen allegedly made to porn star Stormy Daniels on behalf of Trump is at the center of the New York criminal case against the former president. Prosecutors claim that Trump falsely reported the cost as a legal expense. Trump’s lawsuit alleged that Cohen decided on his own to pay off Daniels to keep silent about her claims of an affair with the billionaire real state mogul. Trump said he relied on Cohen’s legal advice and acted out of a desire to protect his family from “malicious and false claims” by Daniels.
Cohen told CBS News earlier this month that the indictment against Trump is about accountability. “I should not be held accountable for Donald Trump’s dirty deeds,” he said. He added that the former president and “those in his orbit” should be held accountable “because it saves and it preserves democracy.”