Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s embattled attorney, has dropped two libel suits he had pursued against BuzzFeed over the website’s publication of the so-called dossier that allegedly contains damning details about President Donald Trump.
The move came late Wednesday and was first reported in Politico. Cohen has been scrambling to recover files and documents seized in federal raids of his home, office and hotel room last week.
BuzzFeed’s decision to publish the dossier caused a stir across the political spectrum given it had not at the time been fully authenticated. In the months since, though, an increasing number of elements in the dossier, especially the ties between Trump and Russia, have appeared to gain more credibility. BuzzFeed also faced scrutiny because the dossier wasn’t exactly family reading — its most infamously salacious detail was about Trump allegedly observing women urinating on each other in a Russian hotel room.
Cohen himself factors into the dossier, which asserts that he met with Russian operatives in Europe, including Prague, to attend a meeting to “clean up the mess” created by disclosures of other Trump associates’ Russian ties. Cohen has denied the Prague meeting occurred.
“The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a difficult one,” Cohen’s attorney David Schwartz said. “We believe the defendants defamed my client, and vindicating Mr. Cohen’s rights was — and still remains — important. But given the events that have unfolded, and the time, attention, and resources needed to prosecute these matters, we have dismissed the matters, despite their merits.”
BuzzFeed News said in a statement that the suit was without merit. “If there’s one thing Democrats and Republicans agree on today, it’s that the dossier was an important part of the government’s investigation into potential collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia,” the outlet said.