President Donald Trump is suing Michael Cohen for $500 million in damages for allegedly breaching his contract as Trump’s former personal attorney.
The lawsuit, filed in a Florida federal court on Wednesday, accuses Cohen of spreading false information about Trump and breaching his contractual obligations to the former president in Cohen’s public statements, published books, podcast series and other media appearances.
Cohen, Trump’s onetime “fixer,” has recently reentered the national spotlight after Trump pleaded not guilty last week to 34 charges of falsifying business records following an investigation into hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels. The payments were coordinated by Cohen in the days before the 2016 election, and Cohen’s cooperation with prosecutors has drawn the ire of the former president.
“Mr. Trump is once again using and abusing the judicial system as a form of harassment and intimidation against Michael Cohen,” Lanny Davis, Cohen’s attorney, said in a statement.
“Mr. Cohen will not be deterred and is confident that the suit will fail based on the facts and the law,” he added.
Trump’s legal team said in the suit that the former president has “no alternative but to seek legal redress” to combat an emboldened Cohen, who they allege has recently ramped up false statements about his former boss.
According to the lawsuit, Cohen revealed confidential information in talking about his prior-attorney-client relationship with Trump during media interviews about the Manhattan District Attorney’s grand jury investigation that led to the former president’s indictment.
“During one such appearance, for example, Defendant discussed that he testified in front of the Manhattan District Attorney’s grand jury, and suggested that Plaintiff was, by virtue of Defendant’s knowledge of confidential information, criminally exposed,” the lawsuit states.
Cohen also violated an employee confidentiality agreement he signed with The Trump Organization when he published his two books that discuss Trump, the lawsuit claims.
Cohen “chose to capitalize on his confidential relationship with (Trump) to pursue financial gain and repair a reputation shattered by his repeated misrepresentations and deceptive acts, fueled by his animus toward the Plaintiff and his family members,” the lawsuit states.
Cohen never asked for permission from Trump to disclose any confidential information that should’ve been protected by that agreement and his attorney-client obligations before publishing the books, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint also alleges that, like his books, Cohen has put out “inflammatory, misleading, or outright false” information in his podcast “Mea Culpa.”
CNN contributed to this report.