Ex-Trump fixer Michael Cohen says AI created fake cases in court filing

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Written By Pinang Driod

© Reuters. Former attorney for former U.S. President Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, arrives the Trump Organization civil fraud trial, in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., October 24, 2023. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) – Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former fixer and lawyer, said in court papers unsealed on Friday that he mistakenly gave his attorney fake case citations generated by an artificial intelligence program that made their way into an official court filing.

Cohen, who is expected to be a star witness against Trump at one of the former president’s criminal trials, said in a sworn declaration in federal court in Manhattan that he did not realize the citations generated by Google Bard were fictitious.

The case citations were included by an attorney for Cohen in a motion seeking an early end to his supervised release following Cohen’s imprisonment for campaign finance violations.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman earlier this month said three court decisions cited in the motion did not exist. He directed Cohen’s lawyer, David Schwartz, to demonstrate why he should not be sanctioned for citing non-existent cases.

Cohen, who was disbarred nearly five years ago, in Friday’s filings said those citations came from his own online research and that he had not expected Schwartz to “drop the cases wholesale into his submission without even confirming they existed.”

Cohen said he had “not kept up with emerging trends (and related risks) in legal technology and did not realize that Google Bard was a generative text service that, like ChatGPT, could show citations and descriptions that looked real but actually were not.”

“I deeply regret any problems Mr. Schwartz’s filing may have caused,” Cohen said in the filing.

Google Bard is a generative artificial intelligence chatbot developed by Alphabet (NASDAQ:) Inc’s Google.

Courts nationally are grappling with the rapid rise of generative artificial intelligence programs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and how to regulate their use in court proceedings.

Two New York lawyers were sanctioned in June for submitting a legal brief that included six fictitious case citations generated by ChatGPT.

Cohen was recently a key witness in New York state Attorney General Letitia James’ civil fraud case against Trump.

Cohen is expected to also testify in the state criminal case against Trump that accuses him of falsifying business records to hide reimbursements to Cohen for a $130,000 payment to silence porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

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