Politics

Michael Cohen's lawyer vows to subpoena Trump in fight over legal bills

Key Points
  • The attorney for President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen vowed to subpoena the president and his associates as Cohen seeks to prove Trump's company reneged on a promise to pay his legal bills.
  • "It is not shocking that Mr. Trump welches on his legal commitments to pay what he owes. He has done that all his life and gotten away with it," said Lanny Davis, Cohen's lawyer.
  • Cohen facilitated nearly $300,000 in hush money payments to two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claim to have had sexual affairs with Trump more than a decade ago.
Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen departs after testifying behind closed doors before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 26, 2019.
Carlos Barria | Reuters

The attorney for President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen vowed Friday to subpoena the president and his associates as Cohen seeks to prove Trump's company reneged on a promise to pay his legal bills.

Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, made that promise a day after a state judge in Manhattan agreed to allow the imprisoned Cohen to gather evidence to support a claim in a lawsuit that the Trump Organization as a result of a promise by the company's general counsel owes him more than $1 million in legal fees he incurred from legal proceedings and criminal investigations.

But Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Joel Cohen said that the purported agreement, if it existed, would only apply to such probes "that were pending in July 2017, when the agreement allegedly was made."

The judge said the Trump Organization would not be required to pay Michael Cohen's criminal penalties and fines, which he incurred from investigations by special counsel Robert Mueller and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

"It is not shocking that Mr. Trump welches on his legal commitments to pay what he owes. He has done that all his life and gotten away with it," Davis said in a prepared statement.

"But, this time, Michael Cohen won't relent," Davis said. "He will now serve Mr. Trump and his associates with subpoenas for testimony. If Mr. Trump refuses to testify and thus violates the subpoena, Mr. Cohen should be entitled to receive a 'default judgment' against Mr. Trump for the full amount owed."

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"That means Mr. Cohen will have the right to attach and seize Mr. Trump's assets to pay what Mr. Cohen is owed. And that is exactly what Mr. Cohen intends to do."

Davis' law firm and other firms that represented Cohen are owed almost $2 million by Cohen, according to his complaint against the Trump Organization.

Marc Mukasey, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, was dismissive of Davis's statement.

"Read the judge's opinion," Mukasey told CNBC. "The bulk of Michael Cohen's claims were rejected. No spin doctor can change that. We won this round. They lost. Period."

Cohen, 53, is serving a three-year federal prison sentence for various crimes, which include campaign finance violations related to his admitted facilitation of nearly $300,000 in hush money payments to two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claim to have had sexual affairs with Trump more than a decade ago.

Trump denies having sex with either woman.

Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about details of a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.