Attorneys for the former president claim that Cohen violated a confidentiality agreement by speaking to the media about Trump’s personal and legal affairs.
Former President Donald Trump has filed a $500 million lawsuit against Michael Cohen, alleging that the attorney breached his contract while serving as Trump’s personal attorney.
According to CNN, the lawsuit was filed in a federal court on Wednesday.
In his complaint, Trump claims that Cohen breached his contractual obligations by speaking about the former president in the press, published books, and other media appearances.
Cohen, writes CNN, recently re-entered the national spotlight after Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 charges of falsifying business records during an investigation into hush money payments.
The payments, purportedly coordinated by Cohen, were forwarded to former adult actress Stormy Daniels, with whom Trump is believed to have had an extramarital relationship.
Lanny Davis, an attorney representing Cohen, said that Trump’s lawsuit is a clear and obvious abuse of the judicial process, intended to punish Cohen rather than achieve any legitimate end.
“Mr. Trump is once again abusing the judicial system as a form of harassment and intimidation against Michael Cohen,” Davis said in a statement, adding that his client will vigorously defend himself in court.
“Mr. Cohen will not be deterred and is confident that the suit will fail based on the facts and the law,” Davis said.
Trump, however, has indicated that he has “no alternative but to seek legal redress” against his former attorney.
In the complaint, Trump and his legal team say that Cohen revealed confidential information—information that should have been covered by attorney-client privilege—during media interviews.
Some of that information, Trump claims, led to the Manhattan District Attorney Office’s decision to investigate and—ultimately—indict the former president.
“During one such appearance, for example, Defendant discussed that he testified in front of the Manhattan District Attorney’s grand jury, and suggested that Plaintiff was, by virtue of Defendant’s knowledge of confidential information, criminally exposed,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit also suggests that Cohen may have violated the provisions of a confidentiality agreement he signed with the Trump Organization by publishing two books detailing his relationship with Donald Trump.
Cohen, claims the complaint, “chose to capitalize on his confidential relationship with [Trump] to pursue financial gain and repair a reputation shattered by his repeated misrepresentations and deceptive acts, fueled by his animus toward the Plaintiff and his family members.”
According to the lawsuit, Cohen never asked Trump whether he had permission to disclose information that should have been covered by attorney-client privilege and the confidentiality agreement.