By Five Dollar Feminist as originally published over at Wonkette and reposted here with permission
COOLEY LAW SCHOOL! Please come pick up your boy Michael Cohen and take him back for CivPro 101, since he clearly slept through it the first time around. Did it occur to Cohen when he filed his defamation suit against Buzzfeed that the news organization would jump at the chance to depose anyone and everyone he ever spoke to? Discovery, how does it work?
This week Politico reported that Buzzfeed’s lawyers dropped preservation letters on Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, Corey Lewandowski, Steve Bannon, Keith Schiller, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and Stormy Daniels. A preservation letter basically says, “Don’t delete any emails, voicemails, memos, notes or any other evidence that might possibly relate to this lawsuit, since we’ll probably be subpoenaing it. We’ll be deposing you soon, ‘kay?”
Cohen’s lawyer David Schwartz told Politico,
I think those recipients are going to be irrelevant to the case at hand. […] They’re going to try to wipe us out with demands on every unrelated issue under the sun.
Nice, try, dude. But if you’re arguing defamation because Buzzfeed published the Steele Dossier describing your client as possibly “engag[ing] with Russians in trying to cover up scandal of MANAFORT and exposure of PAGE and meet[ing] Kremlin officials secretly in EU in August,” then all the bagman shit he pulled during the campaign is going to be fair game for discovery. Including the Stormy Daniels payment. Because if Cohen wants to scream and holler that he NEVER NOT EVER paid off hackers for the campaign, then he’s going to have to answer questions about paying off the porn star in October.
Discovery, THAT’S HOW IT WORKS!
Or as Buzzfeed’s lawyer Kate Bolger put it to Ari Melber,
What we’re looking for is really to know what it was Mr. Cohen did for the Trump campaign because it would help us in our defense of the libel litigation. […]
In federal discovery, and in discovery in American litigation, you have an enormously broad scope. In fact, in defamation cases, you have an unusually broad scope because you’re talking about the reputation of a single person.
EXACTLY. If Michael Cohen wants to allege that “the damage caused by these false allegations was indescribably destructive and irreversible,” then he opens himself up to discovery as to whether the allegations are true. That’s why Trump always threatens to sue the New York Times, but never actually files suit. If Cohen wants to bitch that Buzzfeed “severely harmed his personal, professional, and institutional reputation,” he’s going to have to defend that reputation. And as someone who writes eleventy times a week on what sure seems like Cohen’s hilarious incompetence, Yr FDF can only say, “LOL, have at it, Boychik!”
I believe when you know something is fake and you still post it as if it were real, where no other news organization would do such a thing, I think you’re committing an intentional act and they’re going to be liable for defamation.
And we believe that ice cream shouldn’t make your ass fat! But here in Trump’s America, the Dossier has been the subject of investigations in the House and Senate, supported multiple FISA warrants, and was shown to two sitting presidents. That’s the very definition of newsworthy! ALSO, IT’S NOT FAKE, GODDAMMIT!
So, good luck with that lawsuit, Michael! We can’t wait to see what Legal Eagle maneuver you try to pull tomorrow!
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