Thursday, 22 August, 2019

Turley on Stormy Lawyer Getting Trump Attorney's Private Records: 'It's Not Good'

Dom Smith  STAT Dom Smith STAT
Russell Knight | 11 May, 2018, 01:26

Essential Consultants apparently does a lot more than buy silence.

AT&T also said it was contacted a year ago by Mueller's office "regarding Michael Cohen".

The statement began: "In early 2017, as President Trump was taking office, we hired several consultants 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". Called Columbus Nova, Vekselberg's firm paid $500,000 to Cohen's DE entity, which, as it had turned out, was used for hush money payments, including the payment made to Stormy Daniels. Novartis agreed to retain the lawyer's firm in hopes of gleaning insights into the new regime, the source said.

Cohen's lawyer said some of the records publicized by Avenatti were incorrect and involved other individuals named Michael Cohen, but admitted that some of them - including payments by Novartis, AT&T and Columbus Nova, the American company Avenatti said was associated with Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg - were genuine.

On Tuesday, Avenatti released an "executive summary" that detailed an extensive list of payments made to Cohen's LLC, Essential Consultants, by major USA corporations and a company backed by a Russian oligarch.

Documents linked to by STAT show that a unit of the drug firm called Novartis Investment SARL made about four payments of almost $100,000 each to Essential Consultants on October 5, 2017, November 3, 2017, December 1, 2017, and January 5, 2018, totaling almost $400,000.

The letter says the banking records may not be in Avenatti's possession legally, and they contained inaccurate information, report Politico, the Washington Post and the New York Law Journal.

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Beyond paying Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen's firm was used for other purposes.

They say Avenatti made statements "in an apparent attempt to prejudice and discredit Mr. Cohen" after April 9 raids on his home and office.

The wireless provider - which is seeking to buy CNN's parent company Time Warner - confirmed on Wednesday that it was contacted by Mueller's office late a year ago. Cohen used the promise of White House access as he brought in a total of $4.4 million in payments to his shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, from clients including AT&T, Korea Aerospace Industries and a company controlled by a Russian billionaire. In its Wednesday statement, Novartis said it had cooperated with Mueller's office and "considers this matter closed as to itself".

AT&T confirmed that it had payed Michael Cohen in 2017 for "insights into understanding the new administration". Avenatti has said some of the seized documents could be subject to Daniels' attorney-client privilege and settlement-communications privilege, according to this prior story by the New York Law Journal.

CBS News has not been able to verify all of the claims made by Avenatti. Sarah Huckabee SAnders brushed off all questions about these payments to Cohen in her daily press briefing, saying they had nothing to do with the White House.

"I don't see it", Giuliani told USA TODAY. Those documents also revealed Cohen was aggressively pitching large corporations access to the president shortly after the 2016 election.

Daniels is suing Trump over a nondisclosure agreement she signed following a payment of $130,000 from Cohen just before the 2016 election - and her lawyer has made further public allegations about Cohen's actions as a result.

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