Watch CBSN Live

Lawyer says Trump was told of abuse accusations against Eric Schneiderman 5 years ago

Cohen's early work as lawyer

A New York attorney is asking a judge to seal records pertaining to any discussions he had with Trump attorney Michael Cohen about two women claiming that former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had been "sexually inappropriate" with them. Cohen's office and home were raided in April by the FBI, which seized his records and documents.

Peter Gleason told U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in a letter that he had been contacted by the two women a year apart with claims that were "almost identical." Gleason said that he advised the first alleged victim that "invariably the very entities that were established to protect her would ultimately turn on her to protect the power elite that includes Scheinderman [SIC]." 

After the second woman approached him in 2013 with her story, Gleason said that he wanted to make sure that their stories weren't "brushed under the rug," so he spoke with Stephen Dunleavy, a former New York Post columnist and reporter on "A Current Affair." Dunleavy proposed raising the matter with Donald Trump. Gleason assumed he had done so, given that he then received a call from Cohen, to whom he divulged "certain details of Scheinderman's [SIC] vile attacks on these two women." 

Was Michael Cohen charging companies for access to Trump?

In an interview with the New York Times, Gleason said that Cohen had told him that if Mr. Trump were to be elected New York governor, he would reveal the abuse accusations against Schneiderman. He also told the Times that he had told elected officials about Schneiderman's behavior nearly five years ago, and he said that the two women who came to him are not among the four who talked to the New Yorker.

Cohen did not immediately return CBS News' request for comment. Here's the letter filed by Gleason:

Mr. Trump has not yet said said whether he was apprised by Cohen of the abuse accusations, but he did tweet this about Schneiderman in 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." 

Gleason told the Times that this tweet was a result of what he had told Cohen about Schneiderman. There's been no love lost between Mr. Trump and Schneiderman over the past several years, since Schneiderman filed a $40 million lawsuit against Trump University in August 2013. Mr. Trump has tweeted a number of insults about Schneiderman that were less vague than the one mentioning former New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer or former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, both of whom saw their political careers ended by sex scandals. He has called Schneiderman a "crook," a "lightweight," "the worst attorney general in the US," an "incumbent lightweight dope," a "total loser," and accused him of wearing mascara or eyeliner.

Jeanne Wilcke, who knows Gleason because they're both members of a political club called the Downtown Independent Democrats, spoke to the Times and to CBS News' Laura Strickler about Gleason's claims. She told Strickler that while she doesn't remember exactly when Gleason told her about Schneiderman, she recalls that it was a few years ago and that when he said, "Don't be in a room alone with him," she answered, "Why, 'cause he's a womanizer?"  And she said he responded very seriously, "No, it's more than that."

She also said that when the New Yorker story detailing the abuse allegations against Schneiderman broke, she was at an event with Gleason. Wilcke says she looked at him, and he said, "What did I tell you?"  And she said she responded, "You were so right."

CBS News' Clare Hymes and Laura Strickler contributed to this report.

View CBS News In