Telecom giant AT&T is trying to untangle itself from Michael Cohen’s growing legal troubles.
Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer is under federal investigation for potential bank fraud, among other crimes. Now, the shell company he used to pay hush money to a woman who allegedly had an extra-marital affair with Trump has been linked to a variety of firms, including AT&T, according to a New York Times report.
The shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, received $800,000 from AT&T between October 2017 and January 2018, according to documents reviewed by the Times. Other companies that hired Essential Consultants were a subsidiary of drug-maker Novartis, and Columbus Nova, a US company with ties to a Russian oligarch.
On Wednesday, the Dallas-based company sent out an email to employees to explain its connections to Cohen, who has referred to himself as Trump’s “fix-it guy.” Here is a copy of the email, obtained by the Dallas Morning News:
From: T Now
Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2018 12:10 PM
Subject: Perspective on the news
To: All U.S. AT&T employees
Late yesterday, many media outlets reported that in 2017, AT&T hired Michael Cohen, a former lawyer with the Trump Organization. We want you to know the facts.
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. Companies often hire consultants for these purposes, especially at the beginning of a new Presidential Administration, and we have done so in previous Administrations, as well.
Cohen was one of those consultants. Cohen did no legal or lobbying work for us, and our contract with Cohen expired at the end of its term in December 2017. It was not until the following month in January 2018 that the media first reported, and AT&T first became aware of, the current controversy surrounding Cohen.