Embattled attorney Michael Cohen has dropped a pair of much-touted libel suits against BuzzFeed and the private investigation firm Fusion GPS over publication of the so-called dossier detailing alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia.
Cohen abandoned the suits late Wednesday as he continues to fight to recover documents and electronic files seized from his home, office and hotel room last week by federal authorities as part of what appears to be a broad criminal investigation into his conduct.
"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."
The dossier claims that Cohen met with Russian operatives somewhere in Europe, including Prague, to attend a meeting to “clean up the mess” created by public disclosures of other Trump associates’ reported ties to Russia.
Cohen denied the Prague meeting occurred.
Dropping the suits could help Cohen avoid being questioned by lawyers from Fusion GPS or having to turn over evidence related to the case — both steps that could undercut his defense in the criminal probe.
The move could also bolster Cohen's effort to delay a suit brought in Los Angeles by porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump about a decade ago. It could have been difficult for Cohen to convince that judge to put Daniels' case on hold while Cohen continued to press civil suits in other federal courts.