Written by Michael Gold
Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer and fixer for President Donald Trump, sued the Trump Organisation on Thursday, accusing the company of breaking a contract by refusing to pay about $1.9 million in legal costs after Cohen began cooperating with federal prosecutors.
The lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, said that the Trump Organisation had failed to live up to an agreement to pay for Cohen’s legal fees or related costs connected to his work with the Trump Organisation.
Cohen is also seeking reimbursement for an additional $1.9 million he was ordered to pay in fines, forfeiture and restitution after he pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws, evading taxes and lying to Congress, the lawsuit said.
A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The lawsuit was the latest salvo in an escalating feud between Trump and Cohen, who represented Trump for close to a decade and once said that he would “take a bullet” for his client.
Last week, in a dramatic hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cohen accused Trump of deceptive, criminal behavior and called the president a “cheat,” a “racist” and a “con man.”
On Wednesday, Cohen also provided documents to a House committee that he said supported his claim that he had made false statements to Congress in July 2017 at the request of Trump’s lawyers.
The lawsuit filed Thursday said Cohen and the Trump Organization had entered an agreement under which the company would pay for Cohen’s legal fees and costs arising from investigations being conducted by Congress and by Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is examining Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Trump Organization initially honored the deal, paying a portion of Cohen’s legal fees and promising to pay more, according to the lawsuit.
Then, last June, as Cohen began telling people close to him that he would be willing to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation, the Trump Organization stopped paying Cohen’s lawyers, according to the lawsuit.
As a result, Cohen parted ways with his attorneys, the lawsuit said, which “prejudiced” his ability to respond to the federal investigations.
Shortly after, Cohen hinted to “Good Morning America” that he was considering striking a deal with the New York prosecutors who were investigating him.
In the complaint, Cohen listed 11 separate cases in which he was involved, including multiple House and Senate hearings; lawsuits involving a hush money payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels; a lawsuit from New York’s attorney general against the Donald J. Trump Foundation; and Mueller’s investigation.
Cohen is expected to begin serving a three-year sentence in federal prison in May.