The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label Marc Kasowitz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marc Kasowitz. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Russian Oligarch, Michael Cohen, And (?)






ProPublica

Russian Oligarch-Linked Firm That Paid Michael Cohen Was Also Represented by Trump Lawyer Marc Kasowitz


The investment firm that the two Trump attorneys worked for, Columbus Nova, calls it a “coincidence.”

by Justin Elliott May 9, 6:14 p.m. EDT

The news on Tuesday that the same shell company that Michael Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer for Donald Trump, had used to pay $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels had also received about $500,000 in 2017 from a firm linked to a Russian oligarch set off a frenzy of commentary on Twitter and cable TV.

At the heart of the story is an investment firm called Columbus Nova, which has close links to Renova Group, a conglomerate founded by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg. A Columbus Nova spokesman has said the payments to Cohen were for unspecified investment consulting.

Now there’s a new wrinkle: Another longtime Trump personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, also represented Columbus Nova in recent years in a commercial case. A spokesman for Kasowitz said the case settled in early 2017.

As ProPublica reported last year, Cohen spent a short period in February 2017 working at the offices of Kasowitz Benson Torres in midtown Manhattan, alarming several lawyers at the firm who worried about the brash attorney’s reputation. That was at the beginning of the period, between January and August 2017, when Columbus Nova made its payments to Cohen.

Cohen told ProPublica last year that he used Kasowitz’s offices “because we were working on several matters together after the inauguration.” Both he and Kasowitz have declined to specify what they collaborated on.
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Colleagues say Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s attorney on the Russia investigation, has struggled with alcohol abuse and engaged in behavior that left employees uncomfortable.

A Columbus Nova spokesman said that the investment firm was not introduced to Cohen by Kasowitz. The spokesman said Kasowitz worked on only one commercial matter for Columbus Nova and that it was a coincidence that the firm had used two lawyers who also represent Trump.

Asked whether any of Cohen’s brief time at the Kasowitz offices related to matters for Columbus Nova, Renova, or Vekselberg, a Kasowitz spokesman said “no.” The spokesman added, “The firm did not do any substantive work with Michael Cohen after he left the Trump Organization.” Cohen resigned from the Trump Organization in January 2017.

Cohen didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Any work Cohen did with Kasowitz in 2017 could take on new relevance since the FBI raided Cohen’s home and office last month. Kasowitz, who was Trump’s lead lawyer in the Russia investigation for a brief period last year, has reportedly still been involved in advising the president in the case.

Kasowitz continues to represent Trump in other matters. That includes a suit by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who claims Trump defamed her by calling her a liar after she asserted that he had made unwanted sexual advances. Kasowitz Benson Torres specializes in commercial litigation and has represented many large U.S. and foreign companies.

Kasowitz’s work for Columbus Nova stretches back to at least 2010 in related cases filed in New York and Illinois. In Illinois, Fifth Third Bank sued Columbus Nova and several affiliated entities, alleging that they had caused the bank to lose tens of millions of dollars on loans to a life insurance financing program that was “permeated … by fraud and embezzlement.” In the New York case, Kasowitz and three other attorneys at his firm filed a separate suit alleging that it was Fifth Third Bank that had committed fraud and caused losses.

The name of Andrew Intrater, the CEO of Columbus Nova and the cousin of Vekselberg, comes up repeatedly in the litigation.

Kasowitz’s spokesman said the litigation settled in 2017. The terms do not appear to be public.

“The firm represented Nina Investments LLC and its affiliates, Santa Maria Overseas, Ltd., Columbus Nova Investments IV, Ltd., and Renova U.S. Management LLC, in a commercial litigation with Fifth Third Bank, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, over a failed investment in a company called Concord Capital Management, LLC,” the Kasowitz spokesman said. “The litigation was commenced in 2010 and settled in early 2017.”
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A spokesman for Renova, Andrey Shtorkh, told ProPublica that he is not familiar with Kasowitz. He described Renova Group as a client of Columbus Nova. However, Renova’s website previously described Columbus Nova as one of its holdings. Columbus Nova’s website previously described itself “as the US investment vehicle for the Renova Group.”

Vekselberg was among those hit with sanctions last month by the Trump administration in response to “malign activity around the globe” by the Russian government. The New York Times subsequently reported that Vekselberg was questioned by investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller.

Along with the payments from Columbus Nova, Cohen also received payments from corporations including AT&T and Novartis. AT&T said it hired Cohen “to provide insights into understanding the new administration.” ProPublica recently reported that Kasowitz used his access to the Trump administration to help another client, a New York investor, with a casino in Vietnam.

Portrait of Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a ProPublica reporter covering politics and government accountability. To securely send Justin documents or other files online, visit our SecureDrop page.
Additional reporting by Claire Perlman.
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Thursday, July 13, 2017

"‘Watch Your Back , Bitch" ....Trump Lawyer









Trump Lawyer Marc Kasowitz Threatens Stranger in Emails: ‘Watch Your Back, Bitch’



After hearing Rachel Maddow discuss our recent story about Kasowitz, a man emailed the attorney urging him to resign. Kasowitz responded with threats and profanity.


Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal attorney on the Russia case, threatened a stranger in a string of profanity-laden emails Wednesday night.
The man, a retired public relations professional in the western United States who asked not to be identified, read ProPublica’s story this week on Kasowitz and sent the lawyer an email with the subject line: “Resign Now.’’
Kasowitz replied with series of angry messages sent between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern time. One read: “I’m on you now.  You are fucking with me now Let’s see who you are Watch your back, bitch.”
In another email, Kasowitz wrote: “Call me.  Don’t be afraid, you piece of shit.  Stand up.  If you don’t call, you’re just afraid.” And later: “I already know where you live, I’m on you.  You might as well call me. You will see me. I promise.  Bro.”
Kasowitz’s spokesman, Michael Sitrick, said Thursday he couldn’t immediately reach Kasowitz for comment.
ProPublica confirmed the man’s phone number matched his stated identity. Technical details in the emails, such as IP addresses and names of intermediate mail servers, also show the emails came from Kasowitz’s firm. In one email, Kasowitz gave the man a cell phone number that is not widely available. We confirmed Kasowitz uses that number.
The exchange began after the man saw our story featured last night on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC. We reported that Kasowitz is not seeking a security clearance even though the Russia case involves a significant amount of classified material.
Experts said Kasowitz could have trouble getting a security clearance because of what multiple sources described as a recent history of alcohol abuse. Former employees also said Kasowitz had engaged in behavior that made them uncomfortable.
Since the story was published, his spokesman issued a statement disputing several parts of the story: “Marc Kasowitz has not struggled with alcoholism,” Sitrick wrote. “He has not come into the office intoxicated, attorneys have not had to go across the street to the restaurant during the workday to consult Kasowitz on work matters.”
The rigorous background investigation that goes into getting security clearance also considers “any information relevant to strength of character, honesty, discretion, sound judgment, [and] reliability.”

The exchange of emails Wednesday began at 9:28 p.m. Eastern when the man sent the following message to Kasowitz’s firm account.

Five minutes later, Kasowitz responded with two words:

Fifteen minutes after that, Kasowitz sent a second email:

The man responded politely:

But Kasowitz continued to harangue him:

And then, just 33 minutes after the man’s initial email, Kasowitz sent a fourth response, referring to his own Jewish heritage and the man’s name, which he presumed to be Jewish.

The man told us that the email exchange disturbed him so greatly he forwarded it to the FBI so there would be a written record in case Kasowitz followed through on the threat.
Experts in the laws on harassment and online threats differed on whether Kasowitz’s emails could put him in legal jeopardy.
When considering whether words constitute a true threat versus protected speech, “the threat has to be credible and the person has to intend to make the victim fear imminent physical harm,’’ said Danielle Citron, a University of Maryland law professor and author of a book on online harassment.
Citron pointed in particular to Kasowitz’s statements: “I already know where you live” and “you will see me. I promise.” She said: “That’s incredibly troubling language. If I’m a prosecutor I’m going to think hard about that.”
Ron Kuby, a New York lawyer who argued a case that overturned a portion of the state’s harassment law on free speech grounds, said he believed Kasowitz had not violated the law with his missives.
“When Kasowitz says things like ‘I already know where you live’ he is inching closer to the line. But in my view — as someone who despises the Trump administration, but who has litigated these issues — he is well on the legal side of the line.”
For over 15 years, Trump has periodically retained Kasowitz, who has cultivated a tough-guy image.
The New York Times reported this week that the relationship between Kasowitz and the Trump White House had soured and that Kasowitz could resign. Kasowitz’s spokesman told ProPublica Wednesday: “The NYT story is not accurate.” Kasowitz’s firm was also sued for malpractice this week by a former client in a billing dispute.
Jeremy Merrill and Jesse Eisinger contributed reporting.


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