Lawyer: Trump and attorney Michael Cohen were told about NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's alleged abuse of women in 2013

Key Points
  • A lawyer says President Trump and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, were informed in 2013 about New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's alleged abuse of women.
  • Shortly after Cohen was told, the attorney claims, Trump suggested in a tweet that Schneiderman might be facing a scandal.
  • The attorney, Peter Gleason, asked a judge for a protective order for files in Cohen's possession.
Lawyer: Trump and Cohen told in 2013 about Schneiderman's abuse

A lawyer said in a court filing Friday that President Donald Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen were told in 2013 about alleged abuse of two women by then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Shortly after Cohen was told of it, Trump suggested in a tweet that Schneiderman might be facing a scandal, the lawyer said.

The lawyer, Peter Gleason, asked federal Judge Kimba Wood in New York for a protective order sealing any files Cohen may have had relating to communications from Gleason about the two women.

Cohen, whose residence and office were raided by the FBI on April 9, is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors in New York, and his files are currently being reviewed by a court-appointed watchdog.

Gleason's disclosure came four days after Schneiderman resigned hours after a New Yorker article detailed his alleged physical abuse of several women.

Gleason said he was originally contacted by two women, the first in 2012 and the second in 2013, who separately told him that Schneiderman had engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct with them.

Gleason said he mentioned the women's allegations in the summer of 2013 to former New York Post columnist Steve Dunleavy. Gleason said Dunleavy immediately offered to tell Trump.

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In his letter to Wood, Gleason wrote, "Mr. Dunleavy did indeed discuss this very matter with Mr. Trump as evidenced by the phone call I received from Attorney Michael Cohen."

But Dunleavy denied this account — telling CNBC on Friday that he didn't talk to Trump about the matter after Gleason had told him about the two women.

"I didn't talk to Trump about this," Dunleavy said by phone from the Florida Keys. He conceded, however: "I have talked to Trump in the past."

Dunleavy told CNBC that Gleason called him Thursday about a proposed letter to Wood, "but he didn't check with me" to confirm that the former columnist had actually told Trump about it.

"I may have spoken to Trump once since I retired" a decade ago, Dunleavy added. But again, that conversation did not relate to Gleason's claims, the journalist said.

He also said: "I've never spoken to Cohen, ever, ever in my life."

When told about Dunleavy's comments by CNBC, Gleason suggested that Dunleavy "might have spoken to the secretary" for Trump.

"I did receive a call from Cohen the next day," Gleason said. He added that before getting that call, "Cohen didn't know me from a hole in the wall."

At the time of Gleason's call to Dunleavy about Schneiderman, Trump's Trump University was under investigation by the then-New York attorney general.

Michael Cohen, longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, arrives at the United States District Court Southern District of New York on April 26, 2018 in New York City.
Getty Images

Gleason declined to discuss the details of what he told Cohen, or anything that resulted from either that call or from Dunleavy's contact with Trump.

But in his letter to the judge, Gleason said that "during my communications with Mr. Cohen I shared with him certain details of Schneiderman's vile attacks on these two women."

In an interview Friday, Gleason said that soon after he spoke with Cohen, Trump tweeted the following message, on Sept. 11, 2013.


Eliot Spitzer resigned as governor of New York in 2008 after his dalliance with a prostitute was revealed. Anthony Weiner, a congressman from New York, resigned his seat in 2011 after the exposure of salacious tweets he had made.

Jane Mayer, one of the New Yorker writers whose article about Schneiderman earlier this week led to his resignation, tweeted that "not one source for our story on Schneiderman has any ties to Trump or Michael Cohen."


In his letter to Wood, Gleason said he was motivated to seek an order protecting information about the women by alleged reckless behavior by Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels.

On Tuesday, Avenatti had released a bombshell report about payments made to Cohen by several businesses.

Avenatti is seeking to be heard on a regular basis by Wood on the issue of the confidentiality of some of Cohen's files as they are reviewed by a court-appointed watchdog.

Those files purportedly contain information about Daniels, who was paid $130,000 by Cohen right before the 2016 presidential election in exchange for her keeping quiet about an alleged affair she had with Trump in 2006. Lawyers for Cohen, Trump, the Trump organization and Avenatti all have expressed concerns about files that could be subject to attorney-client privilege being seen by prosecutors investigating Cohen.

Avenatti scoffed at Gleason's concerns when asked about them by CNBC.

"Mr. Gleason has no idea what he is talking about regarding my behavior and appears to be doing the bidding for Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump," Avenatti said.

"What are they hiding?"

In a separate statement to NBC News, Avenatti said, "Individuals and companies are finally coming to the realization that much more information is going to come to light regarding their dealings with Mr.Cohen and Mr. Trump."

"They are nervous and should be," the lawyer said.

Later Friday, Judge Wood directed Gleason to either file memorandum of law supporting his request to seal files related to the women he told Cohen about, or to withdraw that request.

Correction: The headline on an earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Eric Schneiderman.