- Donald Trump wants fines for revealing his fear of flying fruit.
- His lawyer says the fruit phobia was publicized in a plot to “weaponize the media” against Trump.
- As evidence of the conspiracy, the attorney cites texts between Michael Cohen and a Daily Beast reporter.
Former President Donald Trump is seeking fines for what his attorney is calling the malicious disclosure of the former president’s fear of having fruit thrown at him.
Trump’s stated concern that “pineapples, tomatoes, bananas and the like” could be thrown at him during protests was exposed in April as part of his affidavit in a civil lawsuit in the Bronx.
Fruit-laden excerpts from that statement should never have been released, Trump attorney Alina Habba complained last month.
But in papers filed Friday, Habba upped the ante and called for fines to “punish” the “bad faith conduct.”
The decision to publicly file the “highly prejudicial” deposition record “was undoubtedly made to harass or maliciously hurt Trump,” Habba wrote in Friday’s filing.
The target of Habba’s anger are the lawyers on the other side of an ongoing trial accusing Trump of assaulting his security forces on protesters holding placards reading “Make America Racist Again” in front of Manhattan’s Trump Tower in 2015.
The case goes to court this summer; a new date for July 18 has been agreed for the selection of the jury.
Calling for monetary sanctions on Friday, Habba cited a text exchange between Daily Beast reporter Lachlan Cartwright and critic-turned Trump fixer Michael Cohen as an example of the other side’s “ongoing efforts to arm the media” against Trump.
In the brief exchange, the reporter asks Cohen to contact protesters’ attorney Benjamin Dictor, and Cohen agrees.
It’s not clear how the exchange shows Dictor “weaponizing” the Daily Beast, other than that the attorney and reporter knew each other — and that the attorney sought the reporter’s help in reaching out to Cohen.
Cohen is a key witness against Trump in the case and has given an affidavit that he saw his then-boss directly order Trump Tower security to “get rid of” the protesters.
Dictor said in court filings that he only recently learned Cohen was at Trump Tower that day.
The revelation was “a completely random thing” when it happened, New Republic staffer Alex Shepard told Insider on Friday.
It was November and he was having dinner with Dictor and Cartwright in Brooklyn when Cohen called Cartwright’s cell phone, Shepard said.
Cartwright told Cohen he happened to be sitting with “the attorney who just fired your ex-boss,” referring to Trump, Shepard said.
Cohen and Dictor then had a brief exchange over reporter The Daily Beast’s cellphone, after which Cohen revealed what he knew of Trump’s involvement in the protest.
The December text exchange was Dictor’s attempt to reach out to Cohen again, Shepard said.
“It was kind of just a joke” that Dictor and Cohen even happened to be talking, he said.
Cohen and Dictor did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Dictor has also sought sanctions against Habba, saying he acted in bad faith in releasing the transcript. Oral hearings at the Fruchtfracas are scheduled for June 22nd.