This is why Novartis paid Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen $1.2 million

Michael Cohen leaving federal court in New York.   Mary Altaffer  AP

Three days after it was revealed that AT&T had paid Michael Cohen hundreds of thousands of dollars through his company Essential Consultants LLC, the telecom giant's CEO said that hiring Donald Trump's personal lawyer was "a big mistake".

President Donald Trump's lead personal defense lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has sought to walk back a potentially explosive claim in which he suggested the president intervened in the Time Warner-AT&T merger being scrutinized by the US Department of Justice.

In its post-trial brief filed on May 3, AT&T-Time Warner's attorneys said that they have not abandoned their "selective enforcement defense", or the idea that they were unfairly targeted.

When AT&T swung its deal with Cohen, the merger was very much an issue in Washington. "However the reality is that our past association with Cohen was a significant misjudgment".

The payment was the first known activity involving Essentials Consulting, a shell company incorporated in DE by Cohen. According to Avenatti's report, Essential Consultants was used to funnel the $130,000 hush-money payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. "Your choice. We have only just begun".

Wyden said that of the lobbying firms the Swiss drugmaker paid during the first 15 months of the Trump administration, no single firm was paid more than $300,000, while Cohen's firm was paid that amount each quarter for one year.

Giuliani told the Associated Press that it did not appear Cohen took any steps to advance the interests of the companies that paid him and did not speak to the president on their behalf.




Mueller's team learned of Cohen's January 2017 offer and has asked Ford for information and records about it and has interviewed Ford's head of government affairs Ziad Ojakli, the person said.

"We made a mistake in entering into this engagement and, as a outcome, are being criticized by a world that expects more from us", Novartis CEO Vasant Narasimhan said in a memo to employees. He took over the top job in Washington right before Trump's election.

Quinn, a lawyer who joined the company in 1993 and obtained on its Washington office at October 20-16, didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

On Thursday, Novartis Chief Executive Vasant Narasimhan told employees in an email that hiring Mr. Cohen was a mistake and he was frustrated by the arrangement, which was struck under a previous CEO.

The office of Robert Mueller, special counsel in the Russian Federation probe, asked Ford about the matter a year ago and it was unclear if it had made any recent inquiries, the person said.

Avenatti has declined to reveal his sources for the information he released, several companies have now publicly confirmed their consulting deals with Cohen.

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