Monday, October 2, 2023

Donald Trump SERGIO FLORES/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump SERGIO FLORES/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump expressed concern that evidence his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, sought in the $500 million lawsuit he filed against Cohen could potentially incriminate him in any of his other ongoing cases.

According to Bloomberg, Trump, who is expected to appear in court Thursday in connection to his latest indictment, argued in a Wednesday court filing that the documents Cohen requested, particularly the financial records of the Trump organization, should be protected with a confidentiality order as his other criminal cases progress.

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 attorney Alejandro Brito wrote in the Miami 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.”

Cohen, however, has countered that the evidence should be public regardless of any prosecutions. He told Bloomberg that every document his attorneys have sought is integral to his defense 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.”

Trump filed the suit against Cohen in April, claiming that his former lawyer violated their attorney-client bond and spread “embarrassing or detrimental” lies. He also accused Cohen of violating their non-disclosure agreement and fraudulently misrepresenting a $74,000 business expenditure.

Cohen denies the allegations, and Brito did not immediately respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.

“This is what happens when you don’t think through your lawsuit before you file it,” national security lawyer Bradley Moss wrote Thursday of Trump’s argument on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

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Cohen’s public statements helped build the foundation of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s March indictment of Trump, which accused the former president of falsifying business records in connection to a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. Cohen’s statements after the 2016 election also sparked New York Attorney General Letitia James’ years-long probe of Trump’s business transactions. The investigation resulted in a $250 million civil fraud suit against Trump and his company.

Cohen has been a key witness in James’ case against the former president, which is slated to go to trial in Manhattan in October.

Trump has denied wrongdoing in all of his cases, dismissing them as part of a broader political “witch hunt.” Cohen, now a vocal critic of Trump, pleaded guilty to crimes, including bank fraud and finance violations.

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