Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s embattled personal attorney, has dropped the defamation lawsuits he filed against Buzzfeed and Fusion GPS for publicizing unsubstantiated information regarding his alleged ties to Russian operatives.
Cohen’s decision to withdraw the lawsuits late Wednesday spared him the task of producing documentation and sworn testimony regarding his alleged ties to Russians.
The dossier, which was compiled on behalf of the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and first published by Buzzfeed, alleged, among other things, that Cohen traveled to Prague to meet with Russian operatives.
Cohen had forcefully denied the charge and filed two lawsuits in January, one in federal court against Fusion GPS and one in New York state against Buzzfeed, claiming that he could provide evidence to disprove it. But on Friday, McClatchy reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had evidence placing the Trump lawyer in Prague in 2016.
In announcing the end of the libel suits, Cohen’s attorney indicated that his client stands by the assertion that the information in the dossier is untrue, but said present circumstances prevent him from continuing with legal action.
“The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a difficult one,” Cohen’s attorney David Schwartz said. “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.”
Federal agents raided Cohen’s Manhattan office earlier this month and seized records related to his clients and personal finances, including the $130,000 hush-money payment he made to Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had an affair with Trump in 2006.