Giuliani Says Cohen Never Spoke With Trump About His Big-Dollar Clients

Dom Smith  STAT

Dom Smith STAT

Daniels says Cohen paid her in 2016 just before Election Day for an agreement in which she would not talk about the sexual encounter she says she had with Trump a decade earlier.

Speaking with the Daily Beast, the attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels mocked the disorganized manner in which the Trump White House - and by extension President Donald Trump's lawyers - have responded to his nearly daily bombshells. But it was contractually bound to pay for the full year.

Now, it appears that Trump's inner circle not only tried to use the pending merger as a tool for extracting more favorable coverage from CNN - but also, at least in Cohen's case, as one for extracting hundreds of thousands of dollars from AT&T.

The revelations triggered a series of questions about influence-peddling by Cohen, who promised firms access to Trump when negotiating what were described as consulting arrangements.

Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti has earned almost $175 million in free media during his appearances on cable outlets MSNBC and CNN over the past two months, a Washington Free Beacon analysis shows. The companies also included Columbus Nova, a company with ties to a Russian oligarch; Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis and South Korean defense company Korea Aerospace Industries. It declined to say how much it paid Cohen but said it began working with him in early 2017 and its contract ended in 2017.

Among the companies reportedly vying for insight into the mercurial Trump administration were a Korean defense company competing for a US military contract as well as Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, which reportedly paid Cohen $1.2 million for better understanding of the Trump administration's approach to health care policy. AT&T disagreed, sending the battle into a federal trial. But the Justice Department sued to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner.

On Wednesday, AT&T said it had cooperated fully with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Russian Federation probe in November and December.

The antitrust trial ended last month, and a ruling is expected by June 12.

Drugmaker Novartis (NOVN.S) said on Wednesday it had a $1.2 million contract with Cohen's firm, but soon realized the agreement was a mistake.

The financial relationships alleged in Avenatti's "executive summary" may not be nefarious or illegal, but if all of them were substantiated it would add considerably to the public understanding about the business Cohen has been conducting since Trump's election. A spokesman for the company told Reuters it had not been contacted by Mueller's team.

Among the many funds have been $1.2 million from a subsidiary of the Switzerland-based healthcare large Novartis.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, the top Democrats on antitrust subcommittees, wrote to the Department of Justice on Wednesday urging investigation of the payments, including whether there were efforts to influence the department.

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