Michael D. Cohen, the former mediator for Donald J. Trump, who was due to go to trial next week against his former boss’s company in a dispute over legal fees, has agreed to settle his lawsuit with the Trump Organization, lawyers for both sides said in a brief court hearing on Friday.
Cohen’s lawsuit, filed in 2019, accused the Trump Organization of failing to meet the terms of an agreement and refusing to pay more than $1 million in legal costs. Jury selection for the trial began earlier this week and opening arguments were scheduled for Monday.
But at Friday’s hearing, a lawyer for Cohen, Hunter Winstead, and a lawyer for the Trump Organization, James D. Kiley, said they had reached an agreement on the terms of a settlement. The agreement is not yet finalized and the details will be kept confidential. The judge in the case, Joel Cohen, who is not related to Cohen, said he would delay the trial until a final settlement was reached.
Cohen said in a statement that the matter was resolved “to the satisfaction of all parties.”
A separate lawsuit that Trump filed against Cohen in federal court in Florida is still active, and Cohen is still expected to be the star witness against the former president in a criminal trial in Manhattan next year.
Cohen had argued that the Trump Organization had agreed, orally and in writing, to cover attorneys’ fees it incurred during multiple congressional hearings and investigations in 2017 and 2018, including the criminal investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Mr. Cohen has said that the Trump Organization initially paid these bills, but stopped payments after it agreed to cooperate in the investigations.
Cohen was once a close Trump ally, a trusted lieutenant whose job became cleaning up after his boss. One such situation occurred during the 2016 election, when Cohen learned that a porn star, Stormy Daniels, was looking to sell a story about having sex with Trump years earlier.
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Cohen paid Ms. Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet. Over the next year, Trump repaid Cohen in installments that are now the subject of the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal case against the former president.
In 2018, as part of a federal investigation into the hush money payment, FBI agents searched Mr. Cohen’s home, office, and hotel where his family had stayed. Legal pressure strained his relationship with Trump, and the men got into a fight. In August of that year, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to various crimes, including some related to paying the hush money, and cemented his role as an antagonist to Trump several months later when he testified about the then-president at a high-profile congressional hearing.
Cohen has been a thorn in Trump’s side ever since. He is a key witness for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, who charged the former president with 34 felony falsifying business records related to the refunds to Cohen. In April, Trump filed his own lawsuit against Cohen, accusing the former fixer of betraying his confidences and “spreading falsehoods about him.” That lawsuit, filed in federal court in Florida, was not part of settlement talks.
Although the agreement between Cohen and the Trump Organization will almost certainly nullify the scheduled trial, Trump has no shortage of legal commitments on his calendar. A lawsuit filed against him by the New York attorney general is scheduled to go to trial in October, and the criminal trial related to the hush money payments is scheduled for March of next year. There are also two civil trials scheduled for January, including a second trial over whether he defamed writer E. Jean Carroll.
Mr. Trump has also been charged by federal prosecutors for his handling of confidential material and for obstructing their investigation. On Friday, the judge in that case scheduled a trial date for May 2024. And two more potential indictments loom over Trump: one by federal prosecutors related to the former president’s actions in the lead up to the January 2021 attack on the Capitol and another by a Georgia district attorney, Fani Willis, related to possible election interference in the state.
Trump was not expected to appear in Manhattan at the trial stemming from Cohen’s lawsuit. But an agreement would avoid a courtroom showdown between Cohen and the son of former President Donald Trump Jr., whom Cohen subpoenaed earlier this month to testify about his approval of legal fees in his capacity as executive vice president of the Trump Organization. He was expected to take the stand early next week.