AT&T confirms it paid Michael Cohen for consulting on Time Warner deal

AT&T confirms it paid Michael Cohen for consulting on Time Warner deal”

Cohen is also under investigation by prosecutors in NY for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

In a memo AT&T sent to employees earlier this week, the company said that it had retained Cohen in early 2017 "to help us understand how the president and his administration might approach a wide range of policy issues important to the company, including regulatory reform at the FCC, corporate tax reform and antitrust enforcement".

In fact, only three days after President Trump was sworn into office, AT&T turned to his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for help. Rather, his job was to advise the company.

Since Michael Cohen is not a registered lobbyist, he was forbidden from engaging in lobbying, so he was not allowed to contact government officials.

According to disclosure forms, the $600,000 AT&T spent on Cohen's services was merely a drop in the ocean - the corporation spent $16.8 million on lobbying in 2017 alone.

Cohen's work does not appear to meet the definition, Noble asserted, adding that this is an ethical concern, since Cohen "appears to be selling access to a current client, who is president".

Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG and USA telecommunications company AT&T said they made payments to Cohen's firm, Essential Consultants, in efforts to gain intelligence into the Trump administration's thinking on issues affecting them.

AT&T confirmed payments of $200,000 to Essential Consultants, although a source familiar with the matter told Reuters it likely paid more than that and could total as much as $600,000. A day earlier, the drug company said it had paid $1.2 million to a firm led by Cohen, who is at the center of a US law enforcement probe, as well as a civil lawsuit related to payments to an exotic dancer.

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Trump had said on the campaign trail that he would block the deal if elected, and the DOJ has since sued to stop the deal from happening.

The payments were revealed by the man who has become Cohen's nemesis, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who is seeking to release Daniels from the "hush agreement" she signed with Essential Consultants.

At the time, AT&T said that Stephenson had "a very good meeting" with Trump but that the Time Warner merger "was not a topic of discussion".

The Justice Department wants AT&T to divest Time Warner's DirecTV unit or Turner networks as a condition of approving the acquisition.

Novartis said it was contacted in November 2017 by the office of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller about its contract with Essential Consultants.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

Novartis admitted it made a costly mistake in making payments totaling almost $1.2 million to Cohen's firm.

"We made a mistake in entering into this engagement and, as a effect, are being criticized by a world that expects more from us", Dr. Narasimhan said in the email, which was earlier reported by STAT, a healthcare publication of Boston Globe Media.

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