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You may not remember Cohen, but if you are a denizen of the internet, you certainly know that he’s never been to Prague. That’s because when BuzzFeed published the dossier, which claimed Cohen took a nefarious meeting in the Czech capital, he responded with this tweet.
It sparked a tremendously good meme because, well, posting the exterior of your passport does nothing to prove what stamps are (or aren’t) in it.
Thanks in part to the online celebrity it caused, Cohen is suing both BuzzFeed and the company behind the dossier, Fusion GPS, for making “false and defamatory” statements that brought “harm to his personal and professional reputation, current business interests,” and caused “the impairment of business opportunities.”
Cohen filed a lawsuit in federal court against Fusion GPS and in state court against BuzzFeed. In his complaint against Fusion and its founder Glenn Simpson, Cohen charged that the company acted recklessly with the unvetted material.
“[Fusion] recklessly placed [the dossier] beyond their control and allowed it to fall into the hands of media devoted to breaking news on the hottest subject of the day: the Trump candidacy.”
Cohen also makes specific note of the allegation about the trip to Prague.
Namely, Defendants published statements accusing Plaintiff of playing a key role in the conspiracy formed by candidate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign team and the Russian government to rig the 2016 U.S. presidential election through meeting with Kremlin officials in Prague, Czech Republic, in August and/or September 2016 to decide: (1) how to cover-up the crimes committed by Paul Manafort and Carter Page; (2) how to pay off the hackers who had been paid by the Trump campaign and the Russian government to undermine candidate Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign; and (3) how to ensure that the hacking operation continued and cover it up from later discovery, if necessary.
But guess what? The lawsuit makes the same argument Cohen did on Twitter.
Plaintiff has never even been to Prague, Czech Republic, let alone in August of 2016, and therefore could not have met with Mr. Kosachev, nor could he have met with Kremlin officials in a Russian parastatal organization.
The Fusion GPS dossier, which contains uncorroborated, salacious allegations about Trump and Russia has been in the background of the debate over the Trump presidency for a year now, but it’s moved to the forefront of the news this week. Yesterday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein released the testimony from Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson’s meeting with the Senate Judiciary Committee. That comes in the wake of Republican senators recommending a criminal investigation be opened into the dossier’s author, Christopher Steele, for making false statements to federal officials.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]