Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen can sue Trump Organization for millions in legal fees

A prior trial judge had previously dismissed his claims.

November 16, 2022, 10:14 AM

Former President Donald Trump's onetime personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen can sue the Trump Organization to cover millions of dollars in legal fees, a New York appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The unanimous opinion from the Appellate Division, First Department said the trial judge erred when he dismissed Cohen's lawsuit that sought indemnification for outstanding legal fees Cohen incurred in connection with the special counsel and congressional hearings, New York state attorney general and Manhattan district attorney proceedings, and the proceeding related to FBI search warrants.

The victory followed a legal setback when a federal judge dismissed Cohen's lawsuit that accused Trump, ex-Attorney General Bill Barr and the Trump administration of retaliating against him for speaking unflatteringly about his former boss.

PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen speaks to members of media at the United States Courthouse in the Manhattan borough of New York City, Jan. 24, 2022.
Former President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen speaks to members of media at the United States Courthouse in the Manhattan borough of New York City, Jan. 24, 2022.
Jeenah Moon/Reuters, FILE

In the lawsuit over legal fees, the appellate judges said it "should not have been dismissed based on the finding that those fees were not, as a matter of law, incurred by reason of the fact that he had been an employee of defendant."

Cohen became an outspoken opponent of Trump after previously working as his personal attorney for over a decade. He tore down Trump in a 2020 book, titled "Disloyal," and called the former president " absolutely morally bankrupt" at the time.

Cohen pleaded guilty in December 2018 to various crimes, including campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress. He was sentenced to three years in prison, but was released six months early due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a highly watched event, the president's former fixer testified before Congress' House Oversight Committee in February 2019. In his closing remarks, Cohen said his loyalty to Trump "cost him everything."

"I will not sit back, say nothing and allow him to do the same for the country," he said.

ABC News' Victor Ordonez and Cheyenne Haslett contributed to this report.

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