Trump himself boasted last week on Twitter about hiring the firm to handle the case. "The big and highly respected Cooley LLP is handling the [Maher] case for me," Trump wrote in one tweet. "A top firm like Cooley will only submit a case they believe in and can win."
Balberwho joined Cooley as head of financial services litigation last October from Chadbourne & Parke, where he cochaired the commercial litigation practicehas a history of handling litigation for Trump-affiliated entities.
He was part of a Cooley team that secured a $5 million defamation award in December in favor of the Trump-owned Miss Universe organization in an arbitration proceeding with former Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin, who claimed that the beauty contest was rigged. (Monnin asked last week that the judgment be overturned.)
Trump, whose older sister Maryanne Trump Barry is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, has had occasion to employ his share of attorneys over the years, with The Am Law Daily previously reporting on the lawyers who have represented him in casino bankruptcies, real estate acquisitions, and Scottish golf resort projects.
In interviews this week, Trump acknowledged the personal nature of his skirmish with Maher.
"[Maher] talked badly about my father," Trump told Howard Stern on the shock jocks satellite radio show. "The venom with which he said it . . . that wasnt comedy."
Trump also called in to the gossip news show TMZ Live, telling host Harvey Levin, himself an attorney, that Maher crossed the line by suggesting his mother had mated with a primate.
"What [Maher] said about my father is disgraceful . . . and what he said about my mother, who's deceased, was in a certain way, even more disgraceful," Trump told TMZ. "I've never heard anything like that said about my parents . . . who were truly great people."
Trump said he would drop the suit if the New Jerseybred Maher, who purchased a share of Major League Baseball's New York Mets last year, agrees to make payments to the five charities Trump has selected.
If the comedian's Friday comments are any indication, Trump shouldn't expect that to happen anytime soon.