Lawyer says he gave Trump team dirt on Schneiderman
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York lawyer said he told President Donald Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, years ago that former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was abusing women.
Schneiderman, a frequent legal nemesis of the president, resigned this week after The New Yorker published the accounts of four women who said they were slapped and choked by the Democratic ex-prosecutor.
Attorney Peter Gleason said in a letter filed with a federal judge Friday that he was contacted “some years ago” by two women who claimed Schneiderman was “sexually inappropriate” with them.
Gleason said he advised the women not to report what happened to prosecutors. Instead, he said, he discussed the matter with the retired New York Post columnist Stephen Dunleavy.
According to Gleason, Dunleavy offered to talk about the issue with Trump, then not yet president.
Gleason said he then got a call from Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, and “shared with him certain details” of Schneiderman’s “vile attacks” on the women.
In his letter, Gleason asked U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood to issue a protective order sealing “any and all correspondence that Mr. Cohen may have memorialized regarding our communications.”
Wood is the judge resolving legal issues related to records the FBI seized from Cohen last month as part of a criminal investigation.
Gleason, who misspelled Schneiderman’s name throughout his letter, didn’t name the women he said had approached him.
In a brief phone interview Friday, Gleason confirmed Cohen told him during their 2013 conversation that if Trump ran for governor and was elected, he would make the allegations about Schneiderman public.
He added that shortly after that conversation took place, Trump tweeted about Schneiderman.
“Weiner is gone. Spitzer is gone - next will be lightweight A.G. Eric Schneiderman. Is he a crook? Wait and see, worse than Spitzer or Weiner,” Trump’s tweet said, referring to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner and former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, both of whom resigned because of scandals involving women.
Cohen “showed me the appropriate level of concern and compassion” about the women, Gleason said. He declined to detail the conversation with Cohen or the accusations of the two women any further, saying, “That’s the whole point of the protective order.”
A message left for Dunleavy wasn’t immediately returned. But he told The New York Post that he remembered Gleason telling him about the women but never spoke to Trump about it.
Gleason speculated on Friday that Dunleavy must have spoken to someone else at the Trump Organization who passed the tip onto Cohen.
In 2012, Schneiderman initiated legal action against Trump University, claiming the school defrauded students. The suit and others were later settled for $25 million. After Trump became president, Schneiderman filed numerous lawsuits challenging the administration’s policies.
Schneiderman’s lawyer, Isabelle Kirshner, declined to comment. Schneiderman has denied assaulting anyone. Lawyers for Cohen and Trump didn’t return email messages.
Gleason is a former New York City firefighter whose most noted client was a woman nicknamed the “soccer mom madam” after she was accused of running a Manhattan brothel.
Gleason was removed from that case by a judge amid disputes with other lawyers involved in the defense.
Wood ordered Gleason on Friday afternoon either to file a memorandum supporting his request for a protective order by May 18, or withdraw the request.