Trump ‘temporarily’ drops $500m case against his former lawyer Michael Cohen

Cohen celebrates decision and calls suit ‘nothing more than a retaliatory intimidation tactic’

Stuti Mishra
Friday 06 October 2023 06:44 BST
Related video: Eric Trump moans about ‘smelly’ courtroom where his father is facing fraud trial

Donald Trump has decided to temporarily drop his $500m lawsuit against his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen.

A spokesperson for the former US president confirmed the decision to drop the case on Thursday, although Mr Trump has not waived his right to sue again.

This move comes as Mr Cohen has become a key witness in a criminal case against the one-time president.

The lawsuit was originally filed in response to Mr Cohen’s public statements about hush-money payments made to women during Mr Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Mr Trump accused Mr Cohen of spreading falsehoods with “malicious intent”, causing “vast reputational harm” and violating a confidentiality agreement.

Mr Trump’s decision to drop the suit comes just days before he was scheduled to give a deposition in Florida.

The testimony was initially set for 3 October but was rescheduled to allow the former president to attend the first three days of a separate New York civil fraud trial in which Mr Cohen is expected to testify next week.

A spokesperson for Mr Trump had decided “to temporarily pause” the suit against Mr Cohen as he mounts another campaign for the White House for 2024 and fights criminal charges in four separate jurisdictions, but said he would refile at a later date.

“Given that President Trump is required to sit for deposition in a civil matter on Columbus Day, when he is scheduled to be in the Great State of New Hampshire, and while the President is fighting against the meritless claims that have been lodged against him in New York, Washington DC, Florida, and Georgia, as well as continuing his winning campaign... President Trump has decided to temporarily pause his meritorious claims against Michael Cohen,” the spokesperson said in a lengthy statement.

The spokesperson said once Mr Trump “has prevailed in dealing with the witch hunts against him, he will continue to pursue his claims against Michael Cohen, who rightfully deserves to, and will be held accountable for his unlawful words and actions just as the Southern District of New York held him accountable for numerous non-Trump related acts and crimes, making Cohen a very ‘proud’ felon”.

Mr Cohen, meanwhile, celebrated the decision, calling the suit “nothing more than a retaliatory intimidation tactic”.

“Mr Trump’s cowardly dismissal spells the end of this latest attempt to deter me from providing truthful testimony against him,” Mr Cohen said in a statement.

“My legal team and I now look forward to turning our full attention to holding Mr Trump accountable for his latest abuse of the legal system. More to come.”

Additional reporting by agencies

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