On the heels of former President Trump’s video-taped deposition in the E. Jean Carroll rape case, another proceeding will likely find the former president again answering questions under oath.
A discovery hearing is set in federal court in Miami Wednesday in the former president’s $500 million lawsuit against his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Sources say that Trump is expected to be subpoenaed to testify in the case, and that as the plaintiff he cannot legally avoid giving a deposition.
Trump accuses Cohen of defaming him and breaking a confidentiality agreement by “spreading falsehoods” about him in Cohen’s books, interviews and his podcast “Mea Culpa.”
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But Cohen’s side has moved to dismiss the case, claiming that the former president’s “retaliatory conduct has been petty and mean spirited,” that his lawsuit has passed the statute of limitations. In addition, Cohen attorney Danya Perry argued that Mr. Cohen’s personal statements are protected speech and do not violate any purported confidentiality agreement because they deal with Trump’s reputation and not confidential business matters of the Trump Organization, which employed Cohen.
“It is a mystery in what way Mr. Trump’s reputation could possibly have suffered. Mr. Trump’s ignominy is globally known and had been well before Mr. Cohen published his book. It is the product of decades of Mr. Trump’s own actions, which he has thrust onto a global stage for all to see,” said the court document.
Cohen also accuses his former Boss of using the courts as a weapon, as he has often been accused of doing by filling numerous lawsuits.
“How many times do we have to see Donald abuse the legal system out of retaliation, witness tampering or obstruction of justice?” Cohen told Fox News “If this deposition follows in the footsteps of his E. Jean Carroll videotaped deposition, I am certain that he will be equally pathetic and disingenuous in his responses.”
Earlier this year Trump and his lawyers were fined $1 million by a judge who accused the Trump team of using the courts to file frivolous lawsuits for political purposes. U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida ruled that Trump engaged in “abusive litigation tactics.”
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“Frivolous lawsuits should not be used as a vehicle for fundraising or fodder for rallies or social media,” he wrote. “Mr. Trump is using the courts as a stage set for political theater and grievance. This behavior interferes with the ability of the judiciary to perform its constitutional duty.”
The federal judge overseeing the case against Cohen, Judge Darrin Gale, has been called “the first openly gay black man” to serve on the federal bench in the Southern District of Florida. He was nominated by President Barrack Obama in 2014.
Trump accuses Cohen of causing him “vast reputational harm” and says that his former counsel has “become emboldened and repeatedly continues to make wrongful and false statements,” and that his critical comments have “reached a proverbial crescendo” that has left him no action but to file the lawsuit.
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In addition, both will face off in court in another lawsuit in July. Cohen is suing the Trump Organization to obtain $2.3 million in legal fees for dealing with the Stormy Daniels case and other matters.
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