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Judge Tosses Out Michael Cohen’s Bid For Trump Organization To Pay His Legal Bills

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at November 12, 2021


A state court in Manhattan will not require the Trump Organization to reimburse former Trump attorney Michael Cohen for millions of dollars in legal expenses, a judge ruled Friday, dismissing a years-old lawsuit filed by the Trump loyalist-turned-antagonist.

Key Facts

Manhattan Judge Joel Cohen dismissed Michael Cohen’s lawsuit with prejudice Friday.

Cohen sued the Trump Organization in early 2019, alleging the company had promised to pay any legal bills he incurred for a slew of federal investigations into his work, but backed out of that agreement after Cohen began cooperating with investigators.

But the judge concluded many of those legal expenses — including costs associated with a criminal investigation into Cohen and Robert Mueller’s election interference probe — were not related to Cohen’s work for the Trump Organization.

The judge cited Cohen’s “amorphous role as former President Trump’s personal ‘fixer,’ ” noting that Cohen performed work both as a Trump Organization staffer and in connection with “his role more generally in the Trump orbit.”

The Trump Organization called the decision an “incredible victory” in a statement to CNN, claiming “Mr. Cohen’s attempts at self-enrichment … once again failed” (Forbes has reached out to the Trump Organization and Cohen’s attorneys for comment).

Crucial Quote

“Mr. Cohen’s legal fees arise out of his (sometimes unlawful) service to Mr. Trump personally, to Mr. Trump’s campaign, and to the Trump Foundation, but not out of his service to the business of the Trump Organization, which is the only defendant in this case,” the judge wrote in his decision.

Big Number

Over $1.9 million. That’s the total sum of unreimbursed legal fees Cohen claimed the Trump Organization owed him in a 2019 court filing.

Key Background

Cohen served as a Trump Organization executive and personal attorney to Trump, and was widely described as the former president’s “fixer,” once telling Vanity Fair he’s “the guy who would take a bullet for the president.” But in 2018, he pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance violations stemming from a set of large payments designed to prevent Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal from publicly discussing their alleged affairs with Trump — payments Cohen says were made at Trump’s behest. Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a Trump business venture in Moscow. The lawyer was sentenced to three years in prison for what one federal judge called a “veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct.” Since then, Cohen has become a high-profile Trump critic. He cast the former president as a vocal racist and sexist in a book, and he called Trump a “con man” during testimony before Congress in 2019, telling lawmakers his ex-boss systematically downplayed the value of his real estate holdings to tax authorities but inflated their value to lenders.


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