A personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, has filed two suits against BuzzFeed News and Fusion GPS, alleging that both defamed him when they participated in the dissemination and creation, respectively, of the Russia dossier, in which he is named.
According to the suit, Cohen alleges that Fusion GPS and its founder Glenn Simpson defamed him by hiring an ex-British spy to compile the dossier as part of campaign research. BuzzFeed published the 35-page report with an accompanying article in January of last year, and the state-level suit names the news outlet, its editor-in-chief Ben Smith, reporter Ken Bensinger and editors Miriam Elder and Mark Schoofs as defendants.
“Even though defendant BuzzFeed expressly acknowledged the unverified (and potentially unverifiable) nature of the dossier’s allegations, defendant BuzzFeed published the un-redacted dossier and the article anyway — without attempting to determine the veracity of these reports with plaintiff himself,” reads the lawsuit filed Tuesday night in New York state court.
Cohen states that the allegations published in the dossier — which include claims about Cohen’s family ties to Russia and a trip he took overseas to meet with Russian officials — are not true and have hurt him professionally, leading him to seek maximum damages.
“Let me be totally clear that the allegations raised against me in the public square and raised largely by BuzzFeed, Fusion GPS and others in the press are based upon misinformation, unnamed or unverifiable sources,” Cohen told CNN. “Their actions are so malicious, despicable and reckless, one can only presume that their motives were intentional.”
A spokesman for BuzzFeed News responded to the suit in a statement: “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,” the statement finished.
The lawsuits were first reported by ABC News.