Michael Cohen, a personal lawyer for Donald Trump, has filed defamation lawsuits in New York state court against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS over the Steel Dossier, the now infamous “golden showers” memo alleging Russia has blackmail material on the president. The dossier was compiled by former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele for Fusion GPS during the 2016 presidential election, and published by Buzzfeed on Jan. 10, 2017.
Cohen announced the suits Tuesday evening, saying on Twitter : “Enough is enough of the #fake #RussianDossier. Just filed a defamation action against @BuzzFeedNews for publishing the lie filled document on @POTUS @realDonaldTrump and me!”
The suit against Fusion GPS also names founder Glenn Simpson as a defendant.
In the suit against Buzzfeed, posted online by ABC, Cohen decries “false, damaging, and highly inflammatory statements” he says were made about him in the dossier, and accuses BuzzFeed of failing to attempt to “determine the veracity of these reports with Plaintiff himself.”
Cohen says statements about him contained in the dossier, including that he has family ties to Russia, are untrue and have damaged him professionally.
Earlier on Tuesday, Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith wrote an op-ed for the New York Times defending the publication of the Steele Dossier. “Without the dossier, Americans would have found it difficult to understand the actions of their elected representatives and government officials,” Smith wrote. “Their posture toward Mr. Trump was, we now know even more comprehensively than we did in January 2017, shaped by Mr. Steele’s report. The Russia investigation, meanwhile, didn’t turn out to be some minor side story but instead the central challenge to Mr. Trump’s presidency.”
Soon after the dossier was published, Christopher Steele went into hiding citing concern for his and his family’s safety.
Representatives for Buzzfeed and Fusion GPS did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.