If you think you can defame Trump attorney Michael Cohen and get away with it, fuggedaboutit!
Cohen filed a $100 million defamation lawsuit against research firm Fusion GPS and its co-founder Glenn Simpson stemming from debunked accusations against him outlined in the discredited “Trump dossier.” The dossier was commissioned by Fusion GPS and paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Cohen also filed a second defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed, its editor-in-chief Ben Smith, and three writers for publishing the Trump dossier in January 2017, even though the liberal website admitted in its story that “the allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors.”
At the time it published the crackpot rumors, BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith confessed: “There is serious reason to doubt the allegations.” But he went ahead and published the dossier anyway in a cheap bid for page views. And that’s why he’s being sued.
“Even though Defendant Buzzfeed expressly acknowledged the unverified (and potentially unverifiable) nature of the Dossier’s allegations, BuzzFeed published the un-redacted Dossier and the Article anyway — without attempting to determine the veracity of these reports with Plaintiff himself,” Cohen’s lawsuit alleged.
The salacious and unproven claims in the “Trump dossier” have been used against President Trump and his associates to accuse them of colluding with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Among the accusations was a claim that Michael Cohen, a longtime lawyer for Donald Trump (pre-dating his presidency), had traveled to Prague in August 2016 to talk to Kremlin officials.
In reality, Cohen has never been to Prague, and the “Michael Cohen” named in the Trump dossier is someone else with the same name.
Shortly after BuzzFeed published the dossier, Trump attorney Cohen tweeted a photo of his passport, which he says proves he never visited Prague. Cohen said a simple fact-check could have prevented the publication of defamatory claims that he colluded with Russia.
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) January 11, 2017
Cohen said both Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed recklessly put the discredited Trump dossier into the public domain, where unverified accusations of treason against Trump and his associates damaged their reputations.
BuzzFeed responded to Michael Cohen’s lawsuit by saying it published the unredacted, tabloid-ish dossier because “its interest to the public is obvious.”
Our response to the reported defamation lawsuit by Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen: pic.twitter.com/ybSI8kWQvS
— Matt Mittenthal (@mattmittenthal) January 10, 2018
Meanwhile, the dossier has been widely slammed and discredited, both for its unverified allegations and its dubious provenance.
According to the Washington Post, the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid Fusion GPS for the Trump dossier that the Democrats used to promote the narrative that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia.
Fusion GPS hired former British spy Christopher Steele to look into Trump’s real-estate activities in Russia in a bid to tie Trump to Russian operatives.
Christopher Steele, who worked in Moscow during his days as an MI6 agent, then compiled the 35-page “Trump dossier” containing salacious allegations whose goal was to embarrass Donald Trump but did not prove he had colluded with Russians.
In January 2017, anti-Trump Senator John McCain turned the dossier over to the FBI despite the fact that it contained no evidence of collusion, but merely unverified smears against President Trump.
The Trump dossier was then used to launch an investigation into whether the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia. After a year-long probe by special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of anti-Trump lawyers and FBI agents, he has produced no evidence of collusion.
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