A New York-area attorney who claims to have discussed alleged incidents of sexual misconduct by former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman with President Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen is trying to prevent any records of those discussions from being made public.
In a letter Friday to a judge overseeing the handling of records seized from Cohen's home, office and hotel room by the FBI last month, attorney Peter Gleason said he conversed with Cohen about stories two women who claimed they were "sexually victimized by Schneiderman, who resigned earlier this week following a New Yorker story quoting women who said he abused them.
"During my communications with Mr. Cohen I shared with him certain details of Scheinderman's [sic] vile attacks on these two women," Gleason wrote. "The extent of Mr. Cohen's memorializing any of our communications is unknown," Gleason added, asking U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood to seal any such records that may have been in Cohen's possession.
Gleason's letter is not entirely clear about why he would have brought the women's complaints to Cohen, but in an interview, Gleason said he did so because Schneiderman and Trump were locked in a legal battle over alleged fraud in the Trump University real estate program.
Schneiderman filed suit against Trump University in 2013, claiming that it defrauded customers and violated New York law by falsely holding itself out as a university. Trump fought the case and vowed never to settle it, but after winning the White House he agreed to a $25 million settlement covering the New York case and a pair of federal class-action suits leveling similar fraud claims.
Gleason said he originally mentioned the Schneiderman stories to former New York Post columnist Steve Dunleavy, who suggested bringing the information to Trump because of the Trump University case.
"Mr. Cohen was very sympathetic to the plight of these young women," said Gleason, a former New York police officer and firefighter who once ran unsuccessfully for New York City Council. "I had conversations with Cohen and shared certain things which I consider to be privileged."
Asked how the information could be privileged if it was discussed with Dunleavy and Trump, Gleason said he simply views the records as unrelated to Cohen's current predicament and does not want it being put into the public domain. "I wouldn't want anybody, another intervenor, taking this information and using it for their own purposes," Gleason said.
An author of the New Yorker article, Jane Mayer, said on Twitter Friday that none of the allegations they reported came from Trump's camp.
"Just to be clear: not one source for our story on Schneiderman has any ties to Trump or Michael Cohen. Our sources all are deeply opposed to Trump and deeply disappointed that Schneiderman let them and their Cause down," Mayer wrote.