Trump’s $500M suit against Michael Cohen alleges 'multiple breaches of fiduciary duty'

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Trump and Cohen

Former President Donald Trump and lawyer Michael Cohen. Photos from Shutterstock.

Former President Donald Trump has filed a $500 million lawsuit against his former lawyer Michael Cohen for allegedly revealing client confidences and spreading falsehoods about him.

The suit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Miami, seeks compensation for “multiple breaches of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, conversion and breaches of contract.”

The suit says Cohen breached a confidentiality agreement signed as a condition of employment with Trump and violated lawyer ethics rules.

Cohen “committed these breaches through myriad public statements, including the publication of two books, a podcast series, and innumerable mainstream media appearances,” the suit says.

Cohen’s first book, Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Formal Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump, was released before the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s suit alleges that the book “uses quotation marks to fabricate verbatim conversations and falsely put words directly in [Trump’s] mouth.”

The book wrongly labeled Trump a “racist” and wrongly said Trump didn’t care about national security, the suit claims.

The suit says Trump “refutes the truth of any and all disclosures” in Disloyal and in a second Cohen book, Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the US Department of Justice Against His Critics. In that 2022 book, Cohen claimed that Trump lies with “frequency and ferocity … about damn near everything.”

Even though Cohen has been asked in writing to cease and desist, he “appears to have become emboldened and repeatedly continues to make wrongful and false statements” about Trump, according to the suit.

The suit also alleges that Cohen “misrepresented a business expenditure,” stating that he was owed $74,000 more than the actual expenditure.

Cohen was disbarred in February 2019. He pleaded guilty in November 2018 to lying to Congress for falsely saying plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow had ended in January 2016. He also pleaded guilty in August 2018 to campaign finance violations and bank and tax fraud.

The campaign finance charges related to hush-money payments that Cohen arranged for adult film actress Stormy Daniels and a different woman, former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Trump was charged earlier this month with falsifying business records for reimbursing Cohen for his payment of $130,000 to Daniels. The indictment alleges that Trump falsified the records to influence the 2016 presidential election and mischaracterize payments for tax purposes. Cohen has been described as the star witness in the case.

Trump has pleaded not guilty. He has denied the affair with Daniels.

Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Cohen, issued a statement cited by CNN.

“Mr. Trump is once again using and abusing the judicial system as a form of harassment and intimidation against Michael Cohen,” Davis said. “Mr. Cohen will not be deterred and is confident that the suit will fail based on the facts and the law.”

Other publications with coverage of the suit include the Washington Post, Law360 and Reuters.

Trump is represented in the new suit by Alejandro Brito, a Coral Gables, Florida, lawyer.

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