Michael Cohen has spent the past week dishing on Donald Trump’s crimes to various congressional committees, producing evidence to support much of his claims, and in the process setting off everything from massive document requests to an insurance scam investigation. Now Cohen has just stuck yet another dagger in Trump, though it’s of a different kind.
Michael Cohen just filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump in New York court. Cohen is alleging that he and Trump had an agreement in which Trump would pay the entirety of Cohen’s legal fees, but that Trump stopped paying the minute he heard Cohen might flip. Cohen appears to be taking the position that Trump was legally required to continue paying Cohen’s legal fees right up until the moment when Cohen severed their joint defense agreement and cut a deal. This could be a bigger deal for all involved than one might think.
Sure, on the surface, it’s a cash grab on Cohen’s part. The legal fees in question probably add up to a few million dollars, and since Trump does appear to be legally liable, Cohen figures he might as well lay his claim to it. But this lawsuit will go through a discovery process that could force even more incriminating evidence against Trump to come to the surface. In fact this is roughly the same strategy that Stormy Daniels used against Cohen, and her lawsuit indirectly led to Cohen going to prison.
If Donald Trump were smart, he’d just pay Michael Cohen to go away, before this saga can do any more legal damage to him. But as we keep seeing, Trump isn’t dealing with any of this in a smart way. He’ll likely try to fight Cohen to the bitter end, even if the civil litigation ends up putting Trump in increased criminal jeopardy.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report