Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, announced last night he is suing BuzzFeed for defamation over the site’s January 2017 publication of a dossier about Trump and Russia. Cohen is also suing Fusion GPS, which compiled the dossier, an unverified collection of intelligence memos about Trump.
BuzzFeed published the dossier Jan. 10, 2017, noting “the allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors,” but arguing the dossier was newsworthy, as iMediaEthics reported.
“Enough is enough of the
#fake #RussianDossier. Just filed a defamation action against @BuzzFeedNews for publishing the lie filled document on @POTUS @realDonaldTrump and me!,” Cohen tweeted.
Cohen told Bloomberg News, “It will be proven that I had no involvement in this Russian collusion conspiracy. My name was included only because of my proximity to the president.”
A BuzzFeed spokesperson told iMediaEthics by e-mail, “The dossier is, and continues to be, the subject of active investigations by Congress and intelligence agencies. It was presented to two successive Presidents, and has been described in detail by news outlets around the world. Its interest to the public is obvious. This is not the first time Trump’s personal lawyer has attacked the free press, and we look forward to defending our First Amendment rights in court.”
Cohen’s attorney David Schwartz told iMediaEthics by e-mail, “Today, my firm filed two defamation lawsuits for the blatant lies and false statements made about my Client, Michael Cohen, who is counsel to Donald J Trump. Mr. Cohen’s reputation has been permanently damaged by these false, reckless and unconscionable statements made about Mr. Cohen and although no amount of money can ever remedy the damage that has been sustained by Mr Cohen, we will be seeking maximum damages for the lies contained in the so called Dossier. We believe in our courts and our system of justice and that when all the facts are in, justice will prevail and Mr Cohen will be awarded damages against the defendants. ”
The lawsuit was filed just before the statute of limitations expired, the New York Times reported. Last year, the CEO of the web hosting company XBT Holdings, Aleksej Gubarev, filed a lawsuit against BuzzFeed for not redacting his name in the dossier; the dossier claimed Gubarev was “recruited under duress” and was a “significant player” in hacking the Democratic National Committee, iMediaEthics reported. BuzzFeed redacted Gubarev’s name after his lawsuit.
BuzzFeed‘s editor-in-chief Ben Smith published an op-ed in the New York Times Jan. 9, 2018, defending the publication of the dossier. The op-ed, headlined, “I’m Proud We Published the Trump-Russia Dossier,” argues “the dossier is unquestionable real news” and in the public interest.
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) January 10, 2018
UPDATED: 1/10/2018 3:20 PM EST With response from Cohen’s attorney