AT&T Confirms Payments to Trump Lawyer's Shell Company

AT&T confirmed Tuesday night that it paid President Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen for "insights" into the Trump administration during the first year of Trump's presidency.

AT&T said that it paid the money to Essential Consulting, an LLC set up by the embattled Cohen, who is now under federal investigation for numerous possible crimes. "Essential Consulting was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration. They did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017," said AT&T in a statement last night.

Yet AT&T made the payment at the same time that it has been fighting a lawsuit from the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice over its proposed $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX). As a candidate in the fall of 2016, Trump spoke out vehemently against the deal. (See AT&T Likens DoJ Suit to Shaved Persian Cat and Does AT&T Deserve Time Warner?)

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) confirmed the payments Tuesday after attorney Michael Avenatti claimed on Twitter that the operator paid Essential "$200,000 in four separate payments of $50,000 in late 2017 and early 2018 from AT&T."

Avenatti says that this was the same shell company used by Cohen to wire $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels in October 2016, to buy her silence about an alleged affair with then-candidate Trump. Although Trump has denied the affair, the payment has been confirmed.

Avenatti said that several companies -- AT&T amongst them -- paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Cohen through the LLC since the election. Avenatti had not yet released the supporting documents at the time of publication.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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Phil_Britt 5/19/2018 | 3:37:15 PM
Re: Context This may be nothing "new," but seems like companies are becoming more blatant about it.
kq4ym 5/18/2018 | 11:34:51 AM
Re: More updates It all makes one wonder about the scheming that goes on routinely behind the scenes in industry and politics. Should there be more openess or behinds the scenes skull duggery is ok? Makes one a bit cautious about what might be fair and what might be not so much.
mendyk 5/11/2018 | 8:54:09 AM
Re: More updates AT&T took a shot that a thugbuddy known to share an overcooked steak or three with the president would be able to provide insight if not actual influence into the inner workings of said president. Sounds like it missed the target. Other than the low comedy, I'm not sure there's any "there" here.
DanJones 5/10/2018 | 4:49:28 PM
Re: More updates I guess we'll see right?
mendyk 5/10/2018 | 4:39:49 PM
Re: More updates That puts it a little closer to rounding-error territory. Still negligible if the intent was to influence the outcome of an umptyump billion-dollar merger proposal.
DanJones 5/10/2018 | 4:19:33 PM
More updates AT&T paid at least $600,000 not $200,000. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-10/at-t-said-to-have-paid-cohen-up-to-600-000-for-trump-insights
mendyk 5/10/2018 | 2:44:58 PM
Re: The New Yorker weighs in Most "fixers" prefer to remain anonymous. The fact that this one broadcasts it to anyone interested enough to hear it speaks volumes. As far as AT&T goes, I'm sure it's dropped a lot more money on even stupider things.
DanJones 5/10/2018 | 2:00:41 PM
The New Yorker weighs in More context:


Phil Harvey 5/10/2018 | 12:37:38 PM
Re: Context And I happen to think that Cowboys stadium naming rights is a terrific investment. Also, if anyone's watching this thread, I do love sitting in the 100s, near the home 20.
mendyk 5/10/2018 | 10:32:38 AM
Re: Well spent, or spent down the well Does that include a 20% client discount?
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