The Harder They Fall: Trump Attorney Moves Against Stormy Daniels & Michael Cohen
by Jonathan Turley
There is something crushingly ironic in a recent letter received by former Trump counsel Michael Cohen from current Trump counsel Charles Harder.
Cohen has been getting the word out that he is writing a tell-all book in his latest effort to cash in on his scandalous career.
He then received a letter from Harder that he will sue Cohen if he violates… you guessed it… his nondisclosure agreement (NDA).
The same grounds that Cohen used against Stormy Daniels. Speaking of Daniels, she also received mail from Harder, who is seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars for attorneys fees used to represent Trump against her (also a threat made by Cohen in prior litigation). There are two critical differences in all of this.
First, unlike Cohen, Harder is a competent lawyer. Second, Harder actually has a strong case against both individuals.
A friend of Cohen got the word out through the Daily Beast and other publications that “A lot of [the book] will be about looking at things he’s said and done with women and other [politically incorrect] things. It’ll be an insider’s look about what it was like to be alongside the president for 12 years.”
It is vintage Michael Cohen. Not only is he still trying to use anyone and anything to make a buck, but he is entirely discarding any ethical and contractual concerns over the interests of his former client. He presumably obtained this information when doing confidential work for his client since, given his notorious reputation as a legal thug, few people would be interested in Michael Cohen’s view of publicly available facts.
A friend of Cohen told the Daily Beast:
“A lot of [the book] will be about looking at things he’s said and done with women and other [politically incorrect] things. It’ll be an insider’s look about what it was like to be alongside the president for 12 years.”
According to the Daily Beast, Harder is citing a NDA that Cohen signed. Most attorneys do not need a NDA since ethics rules are sufficient to prevent such disclosures, which is precisely why Harder needs to cite the NDA to Cohen.
Harder could simply take some of Cohen’s own words when he was threatening journalists, students, and others deemed a threat to Trump. For example in threatening a journalist, Cohen wrote:
“Mark my words for it, I will make sure that you and I meet one day over in the courthouse and I will take you for every penny you still don’t have, and I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know. Do not even think about going where I know you’re planning on going. And that’s my warning for the day.”
Cohen then morphs into a bad rendition of a mobster after being asked for a statement: He warns Mak to “tread very f–king lightly because what I’m going to do to you is going to be f–ing disgusting. . . . Do you understand me? Don’t think you can hide behind your pen because it’s not going to happen. . . . I’m more than happy to discuss it with your attorney and with your legal counsel because motherf—er you’re going to need it.”
Or he could just cite the NDA and wait for Cohen to be Cohen.
Harder also went after Daniels for what could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Daniels sued Trump over a tweet that ridiculed Daniels over her release of a sketch of a man who Daniels claimed approached her one day in a threatening manner after she went public. It was the subject of widespread ridicule, particularly after the sketch was shown to bear striking resemblance to Daniels’ former boyfriend. Trump tweeted that it was “a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”
A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)! https://t.co/9Is7mHBFda
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2018
As a public figure in a national controversy, Daniels was in a poor position to bring such a lawsuit. Moreover, this was a widely shared view. After she predictably lost the case, Harder hit her with an anti-SLAPP statute claim. Judge S. James Otero agreed that ordered that Daniels pay $292,052.33 in attorney fees and a $1,000 penalty sanction herself under the Texas Citizen Participation Act.
That looked largely symbolic until Daniels recently won a recent false arrest case. Harder jumped on the news with a new filing in federal court.
To Mr. Trump’s knowledge, Ms. Clifford does not possess any assets in this jurisdiction. Ms. Clifford is a resident of Texas and owns no real property in California. In contrast, she possesses substantial assets in the Southern District of Ohio in the form of the $450,000 in settlement funds being held by that court. Accordingly, Mr. Trump respectfully requests that the Court certify the Attorneys’ Fees Order for registration in the Southern District of Ohio.
He could win that case.
By the way, another figure – Michael Avenatti – is back in the news. Unlike Cohen who is still awaiting a compassionate release due to the pandemic, Avenatti was released for at least 90 days to go into home confinement in the home of a friend in Venice, California. Avenatti is due to be sentenced on extortion charges in June.
So, if you thought Trump NDAs, Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels, and Michael Avenatti are so 2018, think again. ~JT
Trump Attorney’s Motion for Stormy Daniels’ Ohio Arrest Money. Click Here to view legal PDF.
(TLB) published this article from Jonathan Turley with our appreciation for this perspective.
Professor Jonathan Turley is a nationally recognized legal scholar who has written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory to tort law. He has written over three dozen academic articles that have appeared in a variety of leading law journals at Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Northwestern, University of Chicago, and other schools.
After a stint at Tulane Law School, Professor Turley joined the George Washington faculty in 1990 and, in 1998, was given the prestigious Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law, the youngest chaired professor in the school’s history. In addition to his extensive publications, Professor Turley has served as counsel in some of the most notable cases in the last two decades including the representation of whistleblowers, military personnel, judges, members of Congress, and a wide range of other clients.
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