Trump files to dismiss $500 million lawsuit against his ex-lawyer

By Kanishka Singh and Karen Freifeld

WASHINGTON/ NEW YORK (Reuters) -Former U.S. President Donald Trump filed a notice to voluntarily dismiss his $500 million lawsuit against his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen, a court filing showed on Thursday.

Trump had sued Cohen in April seeking at least $500 million in damages from his onetime loyal “fixer” after Cohen testified before a Manhattan grand jury that indicted Trump.

“Plaintiff, President Donald J. Trump, by and through undersigned counsel, hereby gives notice that …. he is voluntarily dismissing this action without prejudice,” Trump’s legal team said in a court filing made in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Trump was scheduled to be deposed by Cohen on Monday. Cohen’s legal team welcomed Trump’s filing to dismiss the lawsuit.

Cohen had asked the court in May to throw out the lawsuit against him, calling it an “abusive act of pure retaliation and witness intimidation.” Cohen reiterated on Thursday the lawsuit was “nothing more than a retaliatory intimidation tactic.”

Trump sued Cohen on April 12, eight days after pleading not guilty to 34 criminal charges from the Manhattan district attorney’s office over a $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election that Trump won. That marked the first of Trump’s four indictments.

His other three indictments are related to his attempts to overturn Democratic President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory and his handling of classified documents after he left the White House. Trump has pleaded not guilty in all the cases.

A Trump spokesperson said the former president was temporarily pausing his legal fight with Cohen due to his other legal cases and that he would resume his claims later.

Trump is the frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination for the 2024 elections.

Cohen served part of a three-year prison term after pleading guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations and tax evasion. His 2020 book “Disloyal: A Memoir” was a New York Times’ best-seller.

Trump’s lawsuit accused Cohen of violating rules governing lawyers’ conduct by revealing his “confidences” and “spreading falsehoods” in books, podcasts and media appearances.

It also said that Cohen had damaged Trump’s reputation.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler and Michael Perry)