AP/Mary Altaffer

Trump Files Lawsuit Against Michael Cohen Seeking More Than $500 Million

Former President Donald Trump has filed a 32-page lawsuit against his former attorney, Michael Cohen, alleging he “breached his fiduciary duties owed to Trump” by spreading lies and revealing “confidences.”

Trump’s legal team filed the lawsuit, which seeks more than $500 million in damages, against Cohen Wednesday in the Miami Division of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

The complaint and demand for a jury trial, which Fox News first reported, allege that Cohen, who is now disbarred in the state of New York, spread “falsehoods about [Trump] with malicious intent” and that he revealed his former client’s “confidences” in addition to other transgressions:

Defendent [Cohen] breached his fiduciary duties owed to Plaintiff [Trump] by virtue of their attorney-client relationship by both revealing Plaintiff’s confidences, and spreading falsehoods about Plaintiff, likely to be embarrassing or detrimental, and partook in other misconduct in violation of New York Rules of Professional Conduct, including Rules 1.5, 1.6, 1.9, and 8.4.

Defendent breached the contractual terms of the confidentiality agreement he signed as a condition of employment with Plaintiff by both revealing Plaintiff’s confidences, and spreading falsehoods about Plaintiff with malicious intent and to wholly self-serving ends.

The lawsuit also alleges Cohen “unlawfully converted [Trump’s] business property when he fraudulently misrepresented and stated that he was owed an extra $74,000 over the true amount” and received the funds to which the lawsuit later stated, “He was not entitled.”

Trump’s attorneys wrote that Cohen “committed these breaches through myriad public statements, including the publication of two books, a podcast series, and innumerable mainstream media appearances.”

Trump’s legal team cited the books and podcast under their “Unjust Enrichment” cause of action, asserting that Cohen “received substantial compensation, proceeds, and/or profits as a direct result of, without limitation, his role in the publication, promotion, and or sale of the Books, as well as from his production and marketing of the Podcast, all at the expense of Plaintiff.”

In all, the complaint lays out five causes of action, including:

  • Breaches of fiduciary duties
  • Breaches of Contract
  • Breaches of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
  • Unjust Enrichment
  • Conversion

Trump’s lawyers wrote that he seeks “damages in an amount to be determined at trial, but expected to substantially exceed Five Hundred Million Dollars ($500,000,000).”

Politico’s Kyle Cheney noted on Thursday that the case was assigned to Judge Darrin Gayle, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama.

Last week, Trump entered a not-guilty plea while being arraigned on 34 counts of falsifying business records in a highly criticized case after a grand jury returned an indictment to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office.

Bragg accuses Trump of falsifying records “to cover up crimes relating to the 2016 election,” alleging he, Cohen, and others devised a hush-money scheme to “catch and kill” negative stories. Bragg alleges this scheme led Trump to disguise hush money reimbursements to Cohen as payments for “fictitious legal services.”

In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty “to breaking campaign finance laws by helping orchestrate payments to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal and pornographic actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges to [have] had sexual encounters with Trump before he was president,” Breitbart News reported.

“A source close to Trump’s legal team says the complaint against Cohen ‘has nothing to do with the Manhattan DA’s lawless and fact-less case and is a totally separate matter,’” Fox News reported.

The case is Trump v. Cohen, No. 1:23-cv-21377-XXXX, in the Miami Division of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

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