A court filing indicates President Trump had blackmail material on former New York Attorney General Eric Scheiderman while Schneiderman’s office conducted a years-long investigation into allegations that Trump University was defrauding students.
Scheiderman’s investigation into Trump’s now-defunct “university” — which was not an accredited school, but instead offered expensive real estate workshops and seminars — began in 2013 and ended just last month.
A New York attorney named Peter Gleason claims that two women contacted him “some years ago” to report that Schneiderman had been “sexually inappropriate with them,” followed by a third woman in 2013.
Gleason writes that he advised the third woman against reporting the incident to the Manhattan District Attorney Office “based on my past experience in reporting prima facie political corruption that was ignored by the office, some of which were ultimately prosecuted elsewhere.”
Instead, Gleason says he ultimately discussed accusations brought by the woman against Schneiderman with a retired journalist, Stephen Dunleavy, “who suggested and offered to discuss the matter with Donald Trump.”
Read the filing for yourself:
Attorney Peter Gleason requests a protective order in the Cohen case "regarding any and all records that may be contained in the seized filed of Mr. Cohen regarding any discussions with Mr. Cohen concerning two women that were sexually victimized by" Eric Schneiderman pic.twitter.com/pvmlWvX0qg
— Allan Smith (@akarl_smith) May 11, 2018
According to Gleason’s account, Dunleavy did eventually discuss the accusations with Trump, because Gleason subsequently received a call from Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
“During my communications with Mr. Cohen I shared with him certain details of Schneiderman’s vile attacks” on the women, Gleason writes.
Gleason’s filing casts a years-old Trump tweet in a different light. In September 2013 — one month after Schneiderman filed a $40 million civil fraud lawsuit against Trump University — Trump posted a cryptic tweet unfavorably comparing Schneiderman to two other New York political figures felled by scandal.
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
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2013
Earlier this week, after The New Yorker published a bombshell story detailing physical abuse allegations against Schneiderman by a number of women, conservative media publications and White House officials cited this tweet as evidence that Trump knew something about Schneiderman that other people didn’t.
Schneiderman announced his resignation as New York attorney general just hours after The New Yorker piece was published.
In an interview with the New York Times, Gleason confirmed his conversation with Cohen occurred “shortly before” Trump posted his cryptic tweet. Gleason recounted that Cohen told him that if Trump “were to run for and be elected governor of New York, he would help bring to light the women’s accusations” against Schneiderman.
But Trump never ran for governor. Instead, he kept the information to himself as Schneiderman investigated Trump University, and as Trump ran for president.
The Trump University investigation ended with a $25 million settlement on April 9. That same day, FBI agents raided Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room seeking records pertaining to a hush payment Cohen negotiated just before the 2016 election to a woman who claims she had an affair with Trump.
Gleason’s recent filing was prompted by that raid. He’s asking U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood to grant “a protective order… regarding any and all records that may be contained in the seized files or Mr. Cohen regarding my discussions with Mr. Cohen” concerning his conversations with the women who told him about their Schneiderman accusations.