Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal attorney and close confidant, says he filed a pair of lawsuits on Tuesday, one in federal court against the private investigative firm Fusion GPS and the other in state court against the popular website BuzzFeed.
In both suits, Cohen claims that the infamous dossier of salacious but unconfirmed allegations of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian agents compiled by Fusion GPS and later published by BuzzFeed contained “false and defamatory” allegations that resulted in “harm to his personal and professional reputation, current business interests, and the impairment of business opportunities.”
According to the federal complaint, Fusion GPS, co-founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson, “recklessly placed [the dossier] beyond their control and allowed it to fall into the hands of media devoted to breaking news on the hottest subject of the day: the Trump candidacy.”
According to the New York state complaint, which names BuzzFeed’s top editor Ben Smith as well as Ken Bensinger, Miriam Elder and Mark Schoofs, Cohen claims “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.”
When reached for comment, a BuzzFeed News spokesperson defended the news organization’s decision to publish the document.
“The dossier is, and continues to be, the subject of active investigations by Congress and intelligence agencies,” wrote BuzzFeed News spokesperson Matt Mittenthal in an email. “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.”
A spokesperson for Fusion GPS did not respond to requests for comment.