Some donors to a “truth fund” promoted by attorney Lanny Davis believe he should issue refunds after he admitted lying about what his client Michael Cohen knows about President Trump.
Davis unveiled the “Michael Cohen Truth Fund” last week, and netted about $165,000 since the former Trump “fixer” pleaded guilty to tax and bank fraud, and to campaign finance crimes he said were at Trump’s direction.
Davis promoted the fundraiser with interviews saying Cohen would be an open book for special counsel Robert Mueller, before saying he gave false information to news outlets about what Cohen knows.
Two donors told the News U.S. Today they have regrets after Davis admitted lying to news outlets in late July, when he claimed Cohen could testify that he witnessed Donald Trump Jr. notify his father in advance of a Trump Tower meeting with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Davis now says he doesn’t know if that’s true, despite anonymously providing the information to CNN and then confirming the CNN report anonymously for the New York Post and the Washington Post. “I made a mistake,” the former Bill Clinton aide told BuzzFeed on Monday.
A Switzerland-based tax adviser who donated $150 to the “truth fund” told News U.S. Today that she read articles describing Davis’ walk-back on Tuesday morning and would now like a refund.
“If it is possible to get the money back, I would appreciate this,” she said.
Los Angeles-based attorney Henry Gradstein said he’s not particularly concerned about losing $100, but that refunds might be the right thing to do.
“As an ethical matter, yes, very disappointing,” Gradstein said regarding whether he wanted a refund. “As a practical matter, no — it’s $100.”
Not everyone is upset, however.
Denni Barrett, the Republican owner of a Southern California hot air balloon company, said he doesn’t want a refund for the $300 he gave.
“No. But I sure wish I could take back votes for Trump,” Barrett said. “I would really like Mike Pence stand up be his own man now. Pence could salvage the reputation of the presidency and our party.”
It’s unclear if donations benefit Davis, either directly or indirectly. A description on the fundraiser page said it is “a transparent trust account, with all donations going to help Michael Cohen and his family as he goes forward on his journey to tell the truth about Donald Trump.”
GoFundMe allows donors to publicly display their name, or to give anonymously. The top donor anonymously gave $50,000. Eight donated $1,000 or more.
Davis did not respond to emails requesting comment, nor did corporate spokespeople for GoFundMe.