President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has dropped two lawsuits that he filed in January over the publication of the infamous Steele dossier.
The surprise move comes as Cohen is embattled in a legal fight over setting up payments to two of Trump’s alleged mistresses. The longtime Trump insider is under federal investigation for wire fraud, bank fraud and campaign finance fraud over his handling of a payment to one of the alleged mistresses, Stormy Daniels. FBI agents raided his office, home and hotel room earlier in April.
Cohen, who has been described as a fixer for Trump, arranged a $130,000 payment to Daniels in October 2016, just before the election. She and her lawyer claim that the payment was hush money to keep quiet about a one-night stand that she had with Trump in 2006.
The Stormy Daniels saga broke into the news just days after Cohen sued BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS over the dossier.
The salacious document, which BuzzFeed published on Jan. 10, 2017, makes a series of allegations about Trump and members of his campaign.
Author Christopher Steele alleged that Cohen made a trip to Prague in August or September 2016 to meet with Russian government officials as part of a conspiracy to influence the 2016 election. (RELATED: Michael Cohen Celebrates 1-Year Anniversary of Dossier By Suing BuzzFeed, Fusion GPS)
Steele wrote the dossier on behalf of Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm that investigated Trump on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC during the 2016 campaign. Fusion and BuzzFeed are facing other defamation lawsuits over the dossier, which remains largely unverified.
Cohen has vehemently denied the dossier’s allegations, saying that he has never visited Prague. He provided a peek at his passport to BuzzFeed in 2017 to show that it contained no stamps showing travel to the Czech Republic.
A report published Friday cast a new cloud over Cohen. McClatchy reported that special counsel Robert Mueller has received evidence that Cohen did visit Prague when the dossier claims he did. The article says that Cohen may have entered the Czech Republic through Germany, a route which would not require a stamp on his passport. (RELATED: Here’s Why You Should Be Skeptical Of That Michael Cohen Prague Story)
The report has not been corroborated by any other news outlets, and the reporters responsible for the story have published several articles about the Russia investigation that have either fizzled out or not been corroborated.
Cohen responded to the McClatchy piece on Saturday.
“Bad reporting, bad information and bad story,” he wrote on Twitter along with a denial of ever visiting Prague.
David Schwartz, a lawyer for Cohen, maintains that the Trump attorney’s lawsuits still have merit and that he was defamed by publication of the dossier. Schwartz suggested that Cohen’s other legal problems have taken precedence over the lawsuits.
“The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a difficult one,” David Schwartz, a lawyer for Cohen, told Politico.
“We believe the defendants defamed my client, and vindicating Mr. Cohen’s rights was — and still remains — important. But given the events that have unfolded, and the time, attention, and resources needed to prosecute these matters, we have dismissed the matters, despite their merits.”
A spokesman for BuzzFeed touted Cohen’s decision to drop the lawsuit.
“The lawsuits against BuzzFeed over the Steele dossier have never been about the merits of our decision to publish it,” Matt Mittenthal, the director of communications for the website, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“If there’s one thing Democrats and Republicans agree on today, it’s that the dossier was an important part of the government’s investigation into potential collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia,” he continued. “Its interest to the public is, and always has been, obvious. Today’s news suggests that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer no longer thinks an attack on the free press is worth his time.”
Cohen did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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