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New York lawyer claims Cohen knew of alleged misconduct by state attorney general

May 11, 2018 05:03 pm

A New York lawyer filed a letter in federal court Friday claiming that President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen was informed of sexual abuse allegations against former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, urging a judge to protect any records of those discussions.

The unusual letter was sent to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, who is overseeing a legal dispute between federal prosecutors and Cohen's attorneys over the material seized in a raid last month of Cohen's office and residences. The judge has appointed a special master to assess what documents are protected by attorney-client privilege and should not be shown to criminal investigators.

In his Friday letter, lawyer Peter Gleason said that in 2013 he told a former New York Post columnist, Steve Dunleavy, about two women who had approached him claiming sexual misconduct by Schneiderman, then the attorney general.

Schneiderman resigned earlier this week after the New Yorker reported details of four women's allegations that he was physically abusive and threatening toward them - accusations he denies.

Gleason, whose letter repeatedly misspells Schneiderman's name, said that Dunleavy "suggested and offered to discuss the matter with Donald Trump." The letter does not explain why Gleason brought the matter to Dunleavy or why it would then be raised with Trump. In August of that year, Schneiderman's office sued Trump University, a now-defunct real estate seminar program, alleging it had swindled its students.

Gleason's letter said Dunleavy did discuss the allegations against Mr. Schneiderman, "as evidenced by a phone call I received from Attorney Michael Cohen. During my communications with Mr. Cohen I shared with him certain details of Scheinderman's vile attacks on these two women," Gleason wrote, without describing the purpose of that conversation.

Neither Cohen's attorney nor Gleason immediately responded to a request for comment.

Gleason wrote in his letter that he does not know whether Cohen's seized documents contain any information about that conversation but that he is concerned about the privacy of the alleged victims.

"These two women's confidentiality, as victims of a sexual assault, should be superior to that of any unrelated subpoena," Gleason wrote, asking the judge to issue a protective order "and seal any and all correspondence that Mr. Cohen may have memorialized regarding our communications which pertain to Mr. Scheinderman's assault on these two women."

An attorney for Schneiderman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.