Trump and Michael Cohen reach settlement over $1.3m in unpaid legal bills

11 months ago 65

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Donald Trump has reached a settlement with his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen over claims the former president’s company broke an agreement to pay the attorney’s legal bills, leaving him owing an estimated $1.3m.

Lawyers for Mr Cohen and the Trump Organization announced they’d agreed on terms of a settlement, whose details were not immediately public, in a New York court on Friday, the Associated Press reports.

The deal, which hasn’t been finalised, comes as Mr Cohen’s suit was about to go to trial in state court next week.

Michael Cohen

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The 2019 lawsuit had accused the Trump Organization of failing to honour the terms of an agreement to foot the lawyer’s large legal bills during a series of high-profile investigations in 2017 and 2018, including special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Donald Trump’s potential ties with Russia. Mr Cohen alleged that the Trump Organization stopped paying his bills when he began cooperating with investigators.

The Trump Organization, for its part, argued it carried out the obligations it had to Mr Cohen, and said some of the lawyer’s legal costs were related to personal matters outside of his employment with the Trump company.

The settlement is the latest chapter in a long and twisting relationship between the two men. Mr Cohen, once a staunch ally of Mr Trump, is now one of his most vocal critics, and may offer testimony that seals a series of felony convictions against the former president.

In April, Mr Trump sued Mr Cohen in Florida federal court, seeking $500m in damages, claiming his former fixer broke a confidentiality agreement and unjustly enriched himself by “spreading falsehoods” about the former president after the two suffered a rift.

Mr Cohen has authored two books and hosted a podcast in recent years, all of which have been heavily critical of Mr Trump.

He is also a central witness in Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg’s felony case against Mr Trump over hush money payments.

During the 2016 election, Mr Cohen faciliated a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels to silence her claims of having an affair with Mr Trump.

In 2018, Mr Cohen began a three-year prison sentence, after pleading guilty to campaign fiance charges related to the hush money payments, as well as admitting to lying to Congress about work he did on a Trump Tower project in Russia.

In 2021, Mr Cohen sued Mr Trump and former Attorney General William Barr, alleging they and others retaliated against him by returning him to prison from home confinement as revenge for his plans to write a tell-all memoir.

The suit was dismissed in November 2022, though a federal judge admitted he was frustrated with Supreme Court precedent in the case that foreclosed individuals like Mr Cohen from challenging “the use of executive power to lock up the President’s political enemies for speaking critically of him.”

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