Donald Trump is concerned that evidence sought by Michael Cohen in a $500 million lawsuit the former president filed against his ex-lawyer could potentially incriminate him in other cases.
(Bloomberg) — Donald Trump is concerned that evidence sought by Michael Cohen in a $500 million lawsuit the former president filed against his ex-lawyer could potentially incriminate him in other cases.
Trump argued in a court filing Wednesday in Miami that documents sought by Cohen, particularly Trump Organization financial records, should be covered by a confidentiality order amid the former president’s separate criminal proceedings. Cohen has said the evidence should be made public, regardless of any prosecutions.
The clash comes as Trump is scheduled to appear in federal court in Washington after being indicted for conspiring to overturn the result of the 2020 election — one of three criminal cases against the former president.
Public statements by Cohen helped form the basis for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment of Trump for allegedly falsifying business records tied to a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.
Cohen “has already requested documents that interfere with and/or relate to the pending criminal proceedings and the underlying facts that form the basis of such criminal proceedings,” Trump’s attorney, Alejandro Brito, said in the filing. “The existence of the criminal proceedings currently ongoing against the Plaintiff establishes ‘good cause’ for the entry of the confidentiality order due to the risk of self-incrimination.”
Trump sued Cohen in April for allegedly violating their attorney-client bond and spreading “embarrassing or detrimental” lies. He also claims Cohen violated a non-disclosure agreement with the former president and fraudulently misrepresented a $74,000 business expenditure, all of which Cohen denies.
In a phone call, Cohen said every document sought by his attorneys is necessary to defend himself against the “frivolous and retaliatory” lawsuit.
“If Donald was concerned that release of this information could or will cause him damage in the ongoing criminal investigations, he should have thought twice about bringing the lawsuit in the first place,” Cohen said. “You can’t have it both ways.”
Brito, based in Coral Gables, Florida, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Cohen’s public statements after Trump’s 2016 election also triggered a probe into his business dealings by New York Attorney General Letitia James that led to a $250 million civil fraud suit against Trump and his company. Cohen has been a key witness in that case, which is set for trial in October in Manhattan.
Trump has denied wrongdoing in all the cases and claims they are part of a political “witch hunt.” Cohen pleaded guilty to crimes including campaign finance violations and bank fraud, and he’s now a vocal critic of Trump.
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