A report from Courthouse News Service points to a coordinated effort between Michael Cohen and Donald Trump in collecting compromising material (kompromat) against Eric Schneiderman, the former NY Attorney General.
According to the article, a New York attorney named Peter Gleason has asked U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood for a protective seal on certain material that relates to his communication with Cohen in 2013. That material may have been swept up in the FBI’s raids of Cohen property on April 9 of this year.
Gleason’s petition explains that in 2012 and in 2013 he was approached by two women who claimed Schneiderman was “sexually inappropriate” with them. Rather than file charges or report the claims to the district attorney’s office, a move that would give credence to the claims, Gleason instead tried to contact Donald Trump through a writer for the New York Post, Stephen Dunleavy. Shortly thereafter, Gleason received a call from Trump’s Fixer, Michael Cohen.
This new revelation adds another set of NY characters to the Michael Cohen-Donald Trump imbroglio. It also calls into question the origin and purpose of the sexual misconduct charges against Schneiderman.
Schneiderman was investigating fraud at Trump University in 2013, the year Gleason and Cohen chatted.
Gleason’s decision to alert Trump of the claims against the former AG is questionable on many levels.
- Was Gleason violating attorney-client privilege?
- Why didn’t Gleason pursue legal charges?
- Why did Gleason approach Trump? Was he trying to curry favor with Trump?
- Why did Gleason approach the newspaper? Did he plan to publicize the claims? Was he expecting reimbursement? Were the two women hoping for reimbursement upon publication?
For his part, Cohen apparently told Trump of the women’s allegations as evidenced by his tweet issued on 11 September 2013:
Weiner is gone, Spitzer is gone – next will be lightweight A.G. Eric Schneiderman. Is he a crook? Wait and see, worse than Spitzer or Weiner
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2013
The involvement of Cohen in this affair adds another dimension to his services to Trump. Not only was the consigliere hired to gag voices through NDAs and hush money, Cohen may have collected embarassing material on Trump foes, to be used as leverage or released to squelch investigators such as Eric Schneiderman.