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Michael Cohen drops lawsuits against BuzzFeed, Fusion GPS

Last Updated Apr 19, 2018 8:33 PM EDT

President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen has dropped libel lawsuits against Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed News, the organizations responsible for creating the Trump dossier and publishing it, respectively, CBS News justice and homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues confirmed. Cohen's lawyers have also requested a stay in the Stormy Daniels lawsuit playing out in court in Los Angeles.

The moves follow the recent FBI raids on Cohen's office, home and hotel room, which have put intense pressure and scrutiny on him, says Pegues, and Cohen has been mounting a legal fight to prevent prosecutors from accessing all of the material seized from him. 

"The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a difficult one," Cohen's lawyer, David Schwartz, told CBS News. "We believe the defendants defamed my client, and vindicating Mr. Cohen's rights was -- and still remains -- important. But given the events that have unfolded, and the time, attention, and resources needed to prosecute these matters, we have dismissed the matters, despite their merits."

Sources close to Cohen are concerned he could turn against the president to cooperate with investigators. Cohen, who has been Mr. Trump's personal attorney for years, has been privy to some of the most sensitive dealings of Mr. Trump's presidency and time as a businessman.

Politico first reported the decision to drop the suits, which Cohen filed earlier this year. The dossier, which remains unsubstantiated, details alleged connections between Mr. Trump and Russia. The dossier was authored by former British spy Christopher Steele, commissioned by Fusion GPS, and published by BuzzFeed in January 2017.

When the FBI raided Cohen's home, office and hotel room, they were interested in records related to the $130,000 payment Cohen has admitted to paying Daniels, who alleges she had a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump in 2006. The search and seizure warrant documents included material that mentions Mr. Trump by name, and the "Access Hollywood" tape from 2005 that was released days ahead of the 2016 presidential election.