A Georgian businessman who whose cryptic texts with Michael Cohen were featured in the Mueller report is suing the former special counsel charging a passage connecting him to the Steele dossier caused ‘massive financial and emotional harm.’
Girorgi Rtskhiladze, who worked with Cohen on a proposed Trump tower project in his home country of Georgia, exchanged texts with Cohen where he passed on what he later said was an unconfirmed rumor about ‘some tapes.’
Now the naturalized U.S. citizen born in the former U.S.S.R. is suing both Mueller and the U.S. government in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, claiming defamation and harm to his career in a suit filed Thursday.
‘Stopped flow of some tapes from Russia but not sure if there’s anything else. Just so you know …’ he wrote Cohen in October 2016.
Giorgi Rtskhiladze (R) is suing former Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the United States government over a passage that names him in the Mueller report
Prosecutors included the passage in a footnote in the Mueller report – and it immediately prompted speculation about whether it could have a connection to unverified allegations in the golden showers dossier compiled by Christopher Steele about Trump’s alleged conduct in a Moscow hotel room.
The footnote ‘weaponized the unverified and debunked Steele Dossier when it falsely but sensationally introduced plaintiff to the world as a nefarious “Russian businessman,” involved in surreptitious actions with a Russian oligarch to assure that purportedly salacious tapes of Mr. Donald J. Trump did not become public and hinder Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election,’ according to the lawsuit.
The suit, reviewed by DailyMail.com, claims the footnote ‘insinuates that the referenced tapes were the shocking tapes mentioned in the so-called Steele Dossier that supposedly were in the possession of the Crocus Group, a Russian real estate conglomerate and, further, that plaintiff cavorted with the owner of the Crocus Group to assure the tapes did not become public.’
It names Mueller personally as well as the U.S. government in the defamation suit.
When Rtskhiladze mentioned it was ‘not a big deal’ but said there are ‘lots of stupid people,’ Cohen responded: ‘You have no idea’
The messages, obtained by DailyMail.com, show Rtskhiladze told Cohen: ‘Stopped flow of some tapes’
Rtskhiladze passed on the ‘rumor’ to former Trump fixer Michael Cohen in October 2016
Special Counsel Robert Mueller included a footnote about the texts and said it may relate to part of the golden showers dossier
President Trump has railed against the Russia probe as a ‘witch hunt’ and blasted the ‘phony’ dossier
The complaint was filed in district court in Washington, D.C. Wednesday
Giorgi Rtskhiladze said previously he was engaging in ‘friendly banter’ when he told Michael Cohen he had stopped the flow of ‘some tapes’ of Trump from Russia
Rtskhiladze said following the release of the Mueller report that he only provided the information to Cohen, who was Trump’s longtime fixer before later pleading guilty to tax charges and false statements, after hearing someone ‘bragging’ about the alleged tapes at a Moscow party he did not attend.
At a time when the nation was focused on the ‘Access Hollywood’ tapes where Trump bragged about grabbing women with impunity.
Rtskhiladze ‘related this rumor to Mr. Cohen because he knew plaintiff was working to bring a Trump Tower in Georgia. At the time of the text, there was widespread speculation that there might be other damaging tapes surfacing after the Access Hollywood tape was made,’ he said.
The Mueller report says the texts ‘may’ be related to claims in the dossier about Trump’s trip to Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant. ”During the 2016 presidential campaign, a similar claim may have reached candidate Trump,’ athe report states.
The inclusion of the material in the report caused ‘massive financial and emotional harm,’ according to Rtskhiladze’s suit. He says it caused business deals to sour and caused him to lose business connections.
It wrongfully tied Rtskhiladze to the Steele Dossier, ‘falsely identifying him as a “Russian businessman,” according to the suit. It ‘destroyed plaintiff’s ability to continue as a de facto ambassador for U.S.-Georgia relations and ‘destroyed plaintiff’s personal and business reputation.’
The footnote has ‘dramatically affected his ability to participate in commercial transactions in the United States, the former Soviet region, and elsewhere,’ the suit claims.
One tangible effect listed by the plaintiff’s was the Government of Georgia withdrawing an offer to make him “Honorary Consul” to the country.
The suit seeks $100 million in ‘compensatory and exemplary damages’ and a statement stating the footnote was ‘defamatory and, therefore, arbitrary, capricious.’
In another effort to make the most of the situation, Rtskhiladze in April released a book: ‘Kompromat: My Story from Trump to Mueller and USSR to USA.’