Trump lawyer Michael Cohen sues BuzzFeed for publishing Russia dossier

Mueller who is leading the Russia investigation. Credit Doug Mills  The New York Times

Mueller who is leading the Russia investigation. Credit Doug Mills The New York Times

President Donald Trump is seen on November 30, 2017, in the Oval Office at the White House.

Aside from the Fusion GPS and its founder, the state-level lawsuit has filed Buzzfeed editor in chief Ben Smith, reporter Ken Bensinger, and editors Miriam Elder and Mark Schoofs as the defendants.

He faulted the company for recklessly distributing the dossier and allowing it to "fall into the hands of media devoted to breaking news on the hottest subject of the day: the Trump candidacy".

With the filings, Cohen becomes the closest person to the President to take on the dossier's explosive claims in court.

Cohen told Bloomberg News he will prove that he "had no involvement in this Russian collusion conspiracy" and the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele includes Cohen's name "only because of my proximity to the president".

And he previously published images of his passport to show that he could not have been in the Czech Republic at the time the dossier alleges he was meeting a Russian official in Prague.

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At the time, Buzzfeed News admitted it contained unverified allegations but said it wanted Americans to "make up their own minds".

Attorneys for Michael Cohen said in a statement their client's reputation has been "permanently damaged by these false, reckless and unconscionable statements" made about him in the dossier.

Cohen said he told the panels that he never engaged with, was paid by, or communicated with anyone representing the Russian government, or anyone else, about hacking or interfering with the US election, hacking the Democratic Party, or about creating fake news stories to assist the Trump campaign or to damage the Hillary Clinton campaign.

When reached by phone on Tuesday night, Cohen further criticized the "lie-filled" dossier.

Cohen wrote in the lawsuit that BuzzFeed published the unverified allegations "without attempting to determine the veracity of these reports with plaintiff himself". It was presented to two successive presidents, and has been described in detail by news outlets around the world.

"We strongly believed that publishing the disputed document whose existence we and others were reporting was in the public interest", he wrote in an op-ed article in The New York Times.

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BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal defended the publication of the dossier and added, "we look forward to defending our First Amendment rights in court".

Buzzfeed News broke ranks and published the 35-page dossier days later. He continued filing memos that described what he was told about Trump's connections to Russian Federation, which, together, make up what has become known as the dossier.

"Without the dossier, Americans would have found it hard to understand the actions of their elected representatives and government officials", Smith wrote.

Mr Trump has slammed the dossier as "bogus" and denies his campaign colluded with Russian Federation.

The lawsuits were not immediately available on online court resources.

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