There is growing concern among President Trump's inner circle that his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, could flip on the president after he dropped a pair of lawsuits Thursday.
Cohen's attorney David Schwartz said Cohen is dropping the lawsuits so he and his legal team won't have to split their focus after special counselor Robert Mueller enabled the Federal Bureau of Investigation to seize documents from Cohen's home, hotel and office last week.
"With his decision, it appears that Mr. Cohen can now focus on his many other legal travails", it said. These libel suits could invite discovery, meaning lawyers could try to dig up more damning evidence.
"The lawsuits against BuzzFeed over the Steele dossier have never been about the merits of our decision to publish it", Mittenthal wrote.
Cohen, who is the subject of a Justice Department criminal probe, arranged a $130,000 hush money payment to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges an affair with Donald Trump. "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".
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As part of its defense in the libel suit, BuzzFeed sought to establish that Cohen - described by his own attorney as Trump's "fixer" - has a history of covering up unflattering information about Trump.
Author Christopher Steele alleged that Cohen made a trip to Prague in August or September 2016 to meet with Russian government officials as part of a conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.
Fusion GPS, a research and strategic firm, compiled the dossier and BuzzFeed initially reported on it. The search and seizure warrant documents included material that mentions Mr. Trump by name, and the "Access Hollywood" tape from 2005 that was released days ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
"If there's one thing Democrats and Republicans agree on today, it's that the dossier was an important part of the government's investigation into potential collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russian Federation", he continued. "Its interest to the public is, and always has been, obvious". The dossier also infamously claimed that the Kremlin blackmailed Trump with a tape showing sex workers he hired in Moscow urinating on a hotel bed the Obamas once slept in.
Cohen has vehemently denied the dossier's allegations, saying that he has never visited Prague.
Cohen has denied the report. On Friday morning, a federal judge there will hold a hearing to decide whether the criminal investigation Cohen faces in NY requires a 90-day delay of Daniels' case.