Michael Cohen Drops Defamation Lawsuits Against BuzzFeed, Dossier Firm

President Donald Trump's embattled attorney Michael Cohen dropped his defamation lawsuits against BuzzFeed, its editorial team and the intelligence firm that published what became known as the Russian dossier.

Cohen is entangled in the legal case surrounding records seized from his office and hotel room during an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid last week.

The dossier notoriously made mention of a "pee tape" - a video that allegedly shows Trump watching prostitutes urinate on a bed President Obama supposedly slept on - as well as an August 2016 meeting in Prague between Cohen and Kremlin officials.

"The lawsuits against BuzzFeed over the Steele dossier have never been about the merits of our decision to publish it", Buzzfeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal said in a statement.

"We believe the defendants defamed my client, and vindicating Mr. Cohen's rights was - and still remains - important", continued Schwartz, a partner at the firm Gerstman Schwartz & Malito.

Fusion GPS, which was also being sued for its role in the dossier, told iMediaEthics by e-mail, "We welcome, though are not surprised, that Michael Cohen opted to withdraw this meritless complaint rather than face a discovery process that would have forced him to defend his reputation and address the allegations of the Steele dossier under penalty of perjury".

McClatchy's reporting has not been confirmed by any other news organizations.

Quoting anonymous sources within the Department of Justice, McClatchy reported that Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller found evidence that Cohen entered the Czech Republic through a section of Germany where the borders are open.

BuzzFeed published the dossier in January 2017 and noted at the time that the allegations in the document had not bee substantiated. The FBI is reportedly looking into payments Cohen helped facilitate to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump. CNN reported that lawyers close to Trump warned that Cohen could flip and possibly wear a wire in exchange for a lenient deal.

BuzzFeed, however, declared victory in the dropped lawsuit.

Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News, wrote a New York Times op-ed a year after publishing the dossier in which he defended his decision to make the document public.

There was no immediate response on Thursday to a request for comment from his lawyers.

  • Rogelio Becker