President’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen loses round in fee fight
NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump’s imprisoned ex-personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, lost a round in his longshot bid to get the Trump Organization to cover all legal costs.
Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Joel Cohen said Thursday that the company only owes for legal costs of investigations already begun in July 2017.
That’s when Cohen asserts he reached an oral agreement to have the costs covered. His costs then rose dramatically when he was criminally charged last year.
Cohen pleaded guilty to several charges, including that he broke campaign finance laws and lied to Congress. He is serving a three-year prison term.
The judge, though, said Cohen can collect additional evidence to support his bid for reimbursement from the company where he worked as executive vice president and special counsel and eventually Trump’s “fixer” from 2006 until January 2017.
The company stopped paying his legal bills after he split with the president two months after the FBI raided his residence and office in April 2018.
Although he once bragged he’d “take a bullet” for the president, Cohen met with federal prosecutors in New York and investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller, admitting he’d lied to Congress to protect Trump and paid off two women to keep them from speaking out about alleged affairs with Trump.
Cohen sued Trump Organization earlier this year, saying it owes him at least $1.9 million to cover the cost of his defense and another $1.9 million he’s been ordered to forfeit as part of his criminal case.
Cohen spokesman Lanny Davis said Friday that Cohen will try to force Trump and others to testify in the civil dispute.
“It is not shocking that Mr. Trump welches on his legal commitments to pay what he owes. He has done that all his life and gotten away with it,” Davis, based in Washington, said in a statement.
Attorney Marc Mukasey, representing Trump Organization, said the opinion makes clear that the bulk of Cohen’s claims were rejected.
“No DC spin doctor can change that. We won this round. They lost. Period,” Mukasey said in an email.