In a letter to a judge submitted Friday, New York attorney Peter Gleason tells a convoluted tale of how he was informed of ex-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's behavior towards women years ago—and so was President Trump and his personal attorney Michael Cohen.
Gleason, a “civil rights and personal injury” lawyer, alleges in the letter that two “unrelated” women approached his office “approximately 1 year apart” in 2012 and 2013, both claiming that the former state attorney general was “sexually inappropriate with them.”
Gleason states that he advised both of these women to stay quiet, telling the first that the powers at be would eventually tilt towards protecting Schneiderman, and advising the second not to report this to the AG’s office—claiming his previous experiences reporting corruption to the office were “ignored” or “prosecuted elsewhere.”
Enter Stephen Dunleavy, a former New York Post columnist and host of tabloid show A Current Affair during the 1980s and ’90s. Gleason claims he spoke to Dunleavy to make sure the women’s stories were not pushed “under the rug.”
From there, Dunleavy allegedly told Gleason what he would speak to Donald Trump—just New York real estate mogul and reality TV show host at the time—about the issue. Gleason claims that Cohen then called him, confirming that Dunleavy spoke to the president.
Gleason submitted the letter to obtain a “protective order” against any communications he had with Cohen “concerning two women that were sexually victimized by Mr. Schneiderman” in order to protect their privacy.
While there is nothing currently public to corroborate Gleason’s claims, a Trump tweet from 2013 seemingly alludes to Schneiderman’s sexual misconduct, pairing him with Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer—both politicians disgraced by sexual-misconduct allegations.
“Weiner is gone, Spitzer is gone,” Trump wrote in September 2013. “[N]ext will be lightweight A.G. Eric Schneiderman. Is he a crook? Wait and see, worse than Spitzer or Weiner.”
Trump was also publicly feuding with Schneiderman at the time over an ongoing Trump University case. According to Bloomberg, “Schneiderman sought to sue Trump University in state court in 2012, and filed a complaint the next year in federal court.” Schneiderman claimed that Trump University was “defraud[ing] students”—a case he prosecuted up until last year’s settlement.
Additionally, in a 2014 article in The Observer, which was run by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner at the time, Trump is quoted saying that he wouldn’t quietly settle Schneiderman’s case against him. “At this point in life, I’m just not going to be pushed around,” he said. “I’d rather spend more defending myself than it would cost to settle.”
The future president even tweeted at J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon that same year, telling him to “stop settling” with “lightweight” Schneiderman.
Although, given Trump’s penchant for tough talk about his own business dealings and harsh tweets about his rivals, these comments are not necessarily corroborating evidence of any prior knowledge of allegations against Schneiderman.
And Gleason is known as an odd character among New York legal circles. According to the New York Daily News, he was once “a cop, a firefighter, a real-estate investor and a failed politician.” He ran for Manhattan DA in both 2013 and 2017. He put his own place up for his client’s bail in 2012, and attempted to buy Elvis Presley’s home with a friend.