Donald Trump calls himself ‘president’ in $500m lawsuit against Michael Cohen

Allegations include breach of attorney-client relationship and unjust enrichment

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Wednesday 12 April 2023 22:19 BST
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Donald Trump has sued his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who is at the heart of the New Yorkhush money payment case against the former president, for $500m.

The lawsuit alleges a breach of his attorney-client relationship and unjust enrichment, among other claims. It was filed in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Wednesday.

“This is an action arising from (Cohen’s) multiple breaches of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, conversion and breaches of contract by virtue of (Cohen’s) past service as (Trump’s) employee and attorney,” the lawsuit states.

The suit labels the plaintiff as “President Donald J. Trump” - despite him having left office following an election loss over two years ago.

Court documents allege that Cohen broke his attorney-client relationship with Mr Trump by “spreading falsehoods” about him that were “likely to be embarrassing or detrimental, and partook in other misconduct.”

It also claims that Cohen, who has been referred to as Mr Trump’s “fixer” over the years, breached the terms of a confidentiality agreement that he signed when working for the former president.

Michael Cohen, former attorney for former US president Donald Trump, arrives to the New York Courthouse (REUTERS)

The lawsuit comes just weeks after Mr Trump was arrested and arraigned on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

Cohen has publicly said he testified before the grand jury that indicted Mr Trump and that he is willing to testify in court against him.

Mr Trump, who is aiming to secure the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, pleaded not guilty in that case on 4 April.

The lawsuit claims that Cohen made a “myriad of public statements, including the publication of two books, a podcast series, and innumerable mainstream media appearances,” and has ignored a series of cease and desist orders.

“Such continuous and escalating improper conduct by (Cohen) has reached a proverbial crescendo and has left (Trump) with no alternative but to seek legal redress through this action,” the lawsuit states.

Court papers state that Mr Trump has “suffered vast reputational harm as a direct result of (Cohen’s) breaches.”

Mr Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, accused Mr Trump of “harassment and intimidation” against his client.

“Mr Trump is once again using and abusing the judicial system as a form of harassment and intimidation against Michael Cohen. It appears he is terrified by his looming legal perils and is attempting to send a message to other potential witnesses who are cooperating with prosecutors against him,” he said in a statement.

“Mr Cohen will not be deterred and is confident that the suit will fail based on the facts and the law. Is there anyone in America, aside from a shrinking minority base of believers, who takes Mr Trump seriously when he files these frivolous lawsuits?”

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