Michael Cohen asked a New York state court judge to order the Trump Organization to turn over documents that he says will show the company promised to pay his legal costs related to Congressional investigations, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and his own prosecution in Manhattan.
Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, began serving a three-year prison sentence on May 6 after he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, violating campaign finance laws and bank fraud. He sued the Trump Organization in March for almost $4 million, saying it stopped paying his legal costs when he began cooperating with prosecutors.
The company asked a judge last month to throw out the lawsuit, claiming Cohen is just hoping to score a “payday.” On Wednesday, Cohen asked the judge to deny that request and allow him to get documents, such as internal memos and communications, that would support his claim.
“Mr. Cohen has alleged that he incurred unconscionable injury — in the form of both significant monetary harm as well as irreversible prejudice to his legal interests and reputation — as a result of the organization’s failure to indemnify him and reimburse his legal expenses,” Cohen’s lawyers said.
Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cohen’s fight over the legal fees reflects a broader war he’s waged against the president over his belief that he took the fall for an illegal hush-money scheme involving women who claimed to have had sex with Trump.
Over the past year, Cohen has come to see the man he once affectionately called “boss” as a racist, cheating con man who has spent much of his career defrauding financial institutions and governments. Trump and his allies have dismissed Cohen’s allegations as the words of a lying felon now serving time behind bars as a result of his own misdeeds.
For Cohen, the disputed fees also represent a financial lifeline that would boost his family’s ability to maintain the luxury lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to. Cohen and his wife have seen much of their net worth evaporate as their primary source of wealth — taxi medallions — has sharply deteriorated with the rise of ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft. The Cohens recently were forced to put up their Park Avenue home as collateral for their distressed taxi medallion loans.
The case is Cohen v. Trump Organization LLC, 651377/2019, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).
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