President Trump's Attorney Drops Libel Suits Over Steele Dossier

Elias Hubbard
April 19, 2018

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's embattled attorney, has dropped two libel suits he had pursued against BuzzFeed over the website's publication of the so-called dossier that allegedly contains damning details about President Donald Trump.

BuzzFeed published the dossier in early 2017, noting that the allegations in it had not been confirmed but had been reviewed by then President-elect Trump. Cohen has denied the meeting ever took place and offered his passport as proof that he has never been to Prague. The FBI raided his office and hotel room last week in search of information about Cohen's $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, which she has claimed was in return for her silence about an alleged affair with Trump.

Cohen, who is trying to regain possession of documents Federal Bureau of Investigation agents took last week-reportedly related to payments to women who allegedly had affairs with Trump-on Wednesday night dropped libel lawsuits against BuzzFeed and the political research firm Fusion GPS for publishing the dossier that links Trump to Russian Federation.

"The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a hard one", Cohen's attorney David Schwartz told Politico.

BuzzFeed also faces a lawsuit from owners of a Russian bank over the dossier.

According to Cohen's initial complaint, Fusion GPS, co-founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson, "recklessly placed [the dossier] beyond their control and allowed it to fall into the hands of media devoted to breaking news on the hottest subject of the day: the Trump candidacy". McClatchy reported that special counsel Robert Mueller has received evidence that Cohen did visit Prague when the dossier claims he did. The article says that Cohen may have entered the Czech Republic through Germany, a route which would not require a stamp on his passport.

Cohen filed a pair of lawsuits in January, one in federal court and one in state court in NY, claiming he could prove that the allegation was false and had harmed his reputation.

ABC News' Pete Madden contributed reporting.

"The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a hard one", Cohen's attorney David Schwartz said. "We believe the defendants defamed my client, and vindicating Mr. Cohen's rights was - and still remains - important".

A spokesman for BuzzFeed touted Cohen's decision to drop the lawsuit.

BuzzFeed News said in a statement that the suit was without merit.

BuzzFeed also defended its publication of the dossier, saying it was "an important part of the government's investigation into potential collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russian Federation. Today's news suggests that Donald Trump's personal lawyer no longer thinks an attack on the free press is worth his time".

Cohen did not immediately return a request for comment.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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