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Michael Cohen calls Trump“s $500 mln suit against him “pure retaliation“

2023-05-09T11:38:06Z

Former attorney for former U.S. President Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, arrives to be deposed by Trump lawyers in New York, U.S. April 28, 2023. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

Donald Trump’s onetime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen asked a court to throw out the former U.S. president’s $500 million lawsuit against him, calling it an “abusive act of pure retaliation and witness intimidation.”

Cohen’s lawyers in a filing late Monday in Miami federal court said the lawsuit combined the “worst of Mr. Trump’s vindictive impulses,” and that its timing was no coincidence.

Trump sued Cohen on April 12, eight days after pleading not guilty to 34 criminal charges from the Manhattan district attorney’s office over a $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

Cohen made the payment on Trump’s behalf, and is expected to be a key witness against Trump if the case goes to trial. He had previously testified before a grand jury that charged Trump with falsifying business records.

Authorities have said that the $130,000 payment was meant to silence Daniels about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump, which he denies.

Cohen served part of a three-year prison term after pleading guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations and tax evasion. His 2020 book “Disloyal: A Memoir” was a New York Times’ best-seller.

Trump’s lawsuit accused Cohen of violating rules governing lawyers’ conduct by revealing his “confidences” and “spreading falsehoods” in books, podcasts and media appearances.

It also said that Cohen damaged Trump’s reputation by calling him “racist,” and making up conversations.

Cohen’s lawyers said Trump missed a statute of limitations to sue over the book.

They also said it was hard to imagine how Cohen’s sharing his views on Trump “moved the needle” on how people perceived the former president.