Satirical stalwart The Onion published one of its funniest bits in years, but this time it was the real deal: An actual cease-and-desist email from Michael Cohen concerning a story about Donald Trump.
In 2013, Cohen, a longtime attorney for Trump, was apparently livid about a piece in the outlet that purported to be “written” by his client. It was headlined: “When You’re Feeling Low, Just Remember I’ll Be Dead In About 15 Or 20 Years.”
“Let me begin by stating the obvious … that the commentary was not written by Mr. Trump,” Cohen wrote in the email dated Jan. 24, 2013. “Secondly, the article is an absolutely disgusting piece that lacks any place in journalism; even in your Onion.”
Cohen demanded immediate removal of this “disgraceful piece from your website and issue an apology to Mr. Trump … This commentary goes way beyond defamation and, if not immediately removed, I will take all actions necessary to ensure your actions do not go without consequence.”
The big finish: “Guide yourself accordingly.”
The Onion said it’s ready to talk now.
There’s always the possibility that the email is itself an Onion parody. But Cole Bolton, Onion editor in chief at the time, referenced the email in an interview with “Today” in 2016 when discussing how people respond to articles about them. He added: “You should read that thing. It’s the most wonderful thing in the world.”
And a spokesman for The Onion vouched for its authenticity in a tweet Monday:
The punchline is that Cohen is apparently indicating that the email was fabricated by The Onion. When Law&Crime reached out to Cohen for a comment, he responded in an email: “Is this a real question?” About an hour later he told the outlet, “You are aware The Onion is a satire newspaper?” — and linked to its Wikipedia page.