The President’s convicted former personal lawyer just sued the Trump Organization for almost $4 million dollars in legal fees, costs, and fines associated with his criminal conviction and cooperation agreement.
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Michael Cohen’s lawsuit in New York Supreme Court (embedded below) just revealed that Donald Trump’s sons gave him a contract where they indemnified the company’s former executive after he departed to become the President’s personal lawyer.
Shockingly, that means the Trump family will be stuck on the hook paying for Cohen’s top flight legal counsel who negotiated his cooperation agreements and continues to help him testify against the President to Congress.
Michael Cohen is seeking at least $3.8 million dollars in reimbursement for fines, legal fees, and forfeitures, as well as pre-judgment interest and his attorney fees to sue for repayment. The lawsuit alleges:
In or around July 2017, the Trump Organization entered into an agreement with Mr. Cohen under which the Trump Organization agreed to indemnify Mr. Cohen and, separately, to pay for his attorneys’ fees and costs in connection with Mr. Cohen’s representation and defense in the Investigations and other matters.
In or around June 2018, the Trump Organization ceased to pay McDermott’s invoices, without notice or justification.
An indemnity agreement is typically an open-ended promise to pay, which Cohen says covers all of his legal fees and losses incurred for activities connected to the company.
But those in the know recognize that there is obvious strategic value to the case beyond getting paid.
Cohen can take discovery of the Trump Organization to try to prove that he did significant work for them, identify what work he did, and prove that the work was at their direction, in order to prove that he’s owed what he claims.
That also means the documents evidencing what the Trump Organization told him to do may become public record.
Ironically, the Trump Organization’s sudden refusal to make good on their written agreement is what Michael Cohen says led directly to his fateful decision to cooperate with federal prosecutors, according to the complaint:
As a result of the Trump Organization’s wrongful refusal to pay McDermott’s invoices under the indemnification agreement, McDermott ultimately withdrew from its representation of Mr. Cohen.
McDermott’s withdrawal prejudiced Mr. Cohen’s ability to respond to the Mueller investigation, the SDNY Investigation, and other matters.
Michael Cohen’s plea deal last September became the first concrete evidence that the President had committed a crime to get into office, and that he will probably face charges when he leaves the White House.
The filing from Cohen’s newest pair of law firms laid out the expenses he believes he’s owed under the deal, which should be enough to send the notoriously parsimonious President’s blood pressure skyrocketing. They wrote:
As of January 25, 2019, the amount of Mr. Cohen’s unpaid legal fees and costs in connection with the Matters was approximately $1.9 million.
In addition, Mr. Cohen has been ordered to pay or forfeit an additional approximately $1.9 million as part of his criminal sentence arising from conduct undertaken by Mr. Cohen in furtherance of and at the behest of the Trump Organization and its principals, directors, and officers.
All of these amounts were subject to the Trump Organization’s indemnification agreement.
Today’s lawsuit against the Trump Organization details Michael Cohen’s involvement in eleven (!) different investigations, ranging from four separate House and Senate committee probes, to Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, to civil cases stemming from the incriminating hush money payments he made to Donald Trump’s lovers, and to the New York state investigation of the now-dissolved Trump Foundation.
Cohen had to hire four different law firms just to keep up with the dizzying number of investigations after his primary criminal defense counsel withdrew from the case.
His lawyers also noted that the Trump 2020 Campaign picked up some of Cohen’s legal fees, which might upset the President’s small donors when they learn what they’ve “bought.”
Donald Trump is so cheap that he once cashed a 13 cent check sent to him as a gag, and this would not be the first time that his refusal to pay anyone for anything came back to haunt him.
Now, it looks like Trump’s pennywise refusal to keep defending his fixer for the crimes he directed is about to cost him millions to uphold his company’s obligation to pay the legal costs and fines for his former lawyer to keep burning him in court and Congress.
Maybe his Republican allies in Congress will rethink their strategy of trying to heap additional criminal charges on to Michael Cohen since there’s a good chance that all they’re accomplishing is adding even more to the President’s mounting legal bills.
Here’s a copy of Michael Cohen’s lawsuit against the Trump Organization: