Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, on Wednesday dropped his defamation lawsuits against BuzzFeed News and Fusion GPS, apparently due to the federal criminal investigation he now faces.
“The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a difficult one,” Cohen’s attorney David Schwartz told Politico in a statement Thursday morning. “We believe the defendants defamed my client, and vindicating Mr. Cohen’s rights was — and still remains — important. But given the events that have unfolded, and the time, attention, and resources needed to prosecute these matters, we have dismissed the matters, despite their merits.”
Cohen filed lawsuits against BuzzFeed News and Fusion GPS in January over the publication of the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele. The dossier alleged that Cohen met with Kremlin officials, a claim he has denied.
Trump’s longtime lawyer has been under grand jury investigation for several months for alleged “criminal conduct that largely centers on his personal business dealings. The investigation became public shortly after the FBI raided Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room last week.
In a Thursday morning statement, Buzzfeed News said that Cohen’s decision to drop the lawsuit shows that Cohen “no longer thinks an attack on the free press is worth his time.”
— Matt Mittenthal (@mattmittenthal) April 19, 2018