Michael Cohen, the former lawyer and fixer, has settled a long-standing lawsuit against the Trump Organization, his former employer headed by ex-President Donald Trump, over alleged unpaid legal fees totaling $1.7 million. Lawyers representing both parties announced the agreement during a Friday video hearing with Manhattan Judge Joel Cohen.
The resolution was reached three days before the scheduled trial date for Cohen’s 2019 lawsuit in state court. Although specific details of the settlement were not disclosed, Cohen stated that all parties involved were satisfied with the outcome. The conclusion of this civil lawsuit comes when Trump’s company faces mounting legal challenges, with the former president dealing with criminal charges at both the federal and state levels as he seeks re-election in 2024.
Michael Cohen, the former attorney and fixer for Donald Trump, has resolved a legal dispute with the company named after the ex-US President. The settlement comes in response to alleged unpaid legal fees amounting to $1.7 million.#MichaelCohen #DonaldTrump #Trump2024 #Trump pic.twitter.com/hakHUzokAE
— News Live (@NewsLiveFree) July 22, 2023
Cohen’s Lawsuit and Trump’s Legal Challenges
Cohen’s legal battle over unpaid bills allowed the former Trump ally to voice his criticisms against the ex-president. The upcoming trial was anticipated to feature testimony from Donald Trump Jr, the son of the former president, possibly as early as next week.
Looking ahead to March 2024, Cohen is expected to play a central role when the elder Trump faces state criminal charges related to the alleged falsification of business records in a hush-money case involving an adult film star. However, the Trump legal team will likely challenge Cohen’s credibility in that case, pointing to conflicts the former lawyer has had with the ex-president.
Legal Fees Dispute
According to Cohen’s lawsuit, the Trump Organization had initially agreed to cover his legal expenses, paying over $1.7 million in fees. However, Cohen claimed the company reneged on their agreement once he started cooperating with federal prosecutors investigating Trump’s business dealings in Russia and the hush money allegations.
As a result of the company’s decision to stop paying, Cohen’s lawyers withdrew their representation, causing significant harm to his ability to respond to the federal investigations. The Trump Organization countered the claims in court papers, disputing certain promises and asserting that it fulfilled any obligations.
The Trump Organization contended that Cohen’s participation in the federal investigations was not related to his former job but rather a personal choice to mitigate his potential criminal legal consequences as he faced the possibility of an indictment. Although the former president himself would not have been called as a witness in the trial, Donald Trump Jr., a prominent figure in the family business, was anticipated to provide testimony.
Cohen’s Legal Challenges
Like Trump, Cohen has been entangled in legal troubles in recent years, stemming from his tenure as part of the ex-president’s inner circle. In 2018, he pleaded guilty to various charges, including violating campaign finance laws by making excessive political contributions. The former lawyer had previously testified that Trump instructed him to pay two women, including adult film star Stormy Daniels, in an alleged effort to buy their silence. Additionally, Cohen admitted to providing false information to Congress and banks to secure financing and committing tax evasion by concealing $4 million in personal income.
Cohen was given a three-year prison sentence but served nearly two-thirds under house arrest due to the COVID-19 outbreak that overwhelmed US prisons. The ex-president has consistently doubted Cohen’s credibility to discredit the accusations against him, frequently labeling his former lawyer as a “jailbird” and a “serial liar.”
Furthermore, Trump filed a lawsuit against Cohen, alleging that he violated a confidentiality agreement with the company, breached ethical standards for lawyers, and deliberately spread false information about Trump.
Trump’s Ongoing Legal Woes
While the recent settlement resolves the lawsuit over Cohen’s legal expenses, Trump still faces multiple legal challenges. A trial is scheduled for October in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s business fraud lawsuit against Trump’s company and the former president himself. Additionally, in March, Trump is set to face trial for the New York hush-money indictment, where Cohen is expected to be a key witness. His April indictment marked the first time a current or former president faced criminal charges.
Moreover, in June, Trump became the first president to face federal criminal charges related to handling classified documents after leaving office. On Friday, a Florida judge set a trial date for May 2024 in that case. Furthermore, Trump recently disclosed that the justice department had informed him that he was a target of another federal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results – a notification that could indicate impending charges.
In addition to the legal challenges, Trump is under investigation in Georgia for alleged interference in the state’s 2020 election outcome. On Monday, his lawyers’ attempt to halt the investigation was rejected by a court. Furthermore, the former president faces a civil defamation lawsuit from writer E Jean Carroll, who accused him of raping her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room during the 1990s. In a separate civil suit, a jury found Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming Carroll, resulting in a $5 million award to her in May. These ongoing legal troubles continue to overshadow Trump’s post-presidency endeavors.