Trump attorney Michael Cohen sent The Onion lawsuit threat for satirical piece

By @chelean on
U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen arrives at his hotel in New York City, U.S., May 9, 2018.
U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen arrives at his hotel in New York City, U.S., May 9, 2018. Reuters/Brendan McDermid

US President Donald Trump’s personal attorney threatened to sue The Onion for a satirical article five years ago. Michael Cohen, who is under investigation by the FBI for multiple issues that include campaign finance violations, took the news satire website’s piece on Trump seriously.

On Monday, The Onion revealed that it received a letter from Cohen in 2013, but it was just now that it had finally read it. Cohen was complaining about the article titled, “When You’re Feeling Low, Just Remember I’ll be Dead in About 15 or 20 Years,” on the website, which was “written” by Trump himself.

Trump, of course, did not write the editorial and the whole the piece was clearly a satire, but Cohen either wasn’t aware of that or it didn’t matter to him. Shortly after The Onion published it, Cohen sent a letter, threatening the organisation with a lawsuit if it didn’t take down the article and apologise to Trump.

“Let me begin by stating the obvious…that the commentary was not written by Mr. Trump. Secondly, the article is an absolutely disgusting piece that lacks any place in journalism; even in your Onion,” [sic] Cohen’s email reads. “I am hereby demanding that you immediately remove this disgraceful piece from your website and issue an apology to Mr. Trump. I further ask that you contact immediately to discuss.

“This commentary goes way beyond defamation and, if not immediately removed, I will take all actions necessary to ensure your actions do not go without consequence. Guide yourself accordingly.”

The Onion apparently ignored the said email until recently. In true Onion fashion, the satirical website responded in a joking manner, claiming it had just read the threat, and now wants to reach a deal with Cohen. It said it would be willing to accommodate Cohen’s wishes if it got something in return.

“A quid pro quo, if you will,” The Onion said. “We believe the removal of the piece in exchange for influence over the president’s decision-making constitutes a more than reasonable deal, and we implore Mr Cohen to meet with us without delay. We are happy to schedule around his upcoming court appearances.”

The Onion was referring to Cohen’s court dates when he needs to answer for his suspected criminal conduct. He is facing multiple cases, including wire and bank fraud, as well as campaign finance violations, in part relating to the payments Trump allegedly made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The Onion also said it was trying to reach Cohen via the phone numbers he provided and had even sent a courier to his New York offices, but it received no reply. Cohen’s offices , home and hotel room in the Loews Regency Hotel were raided by the FBI. The agency also seized 16 mobile phones from his offices.

“After receiving no reply, we can only assume you are trying to stonewall us. We are growing concern that you have remained silent because you have been building a rock-solid case against us for the last five years, and in fact shudder to even imagine the detailed, thorough, and likely damning charges you would bring forward,” The Onion said.

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