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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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mendyk 5/9/2018 | 10:52:01 AM
Well spent, or spent down the well More proof that $200K buys you close to nothing now.
DanJones 5/9/2018 | 11:58:55 AM
Re: Well spent, or spent down the well The interesting thing is they said they engaged several firms to gain insights. I wonder who some of the other firms are?
mendyk 5/9/2018 | 12:07:14 PM
Re: Well spent, or spent down the well Local 12 -- Villains Thieves and Scoundrels Union. Boris Badenov, Pres.
Ariella 5/9/2018 | 2:31:57 PM
Re: Well spent, or spent down the well Too true!
DanJones 5/9/2018 | 2:37:24 PM
Context AT&T paid $420,000 and $400,000 each to its 2 top lobbying firms in 2017, according to the Atlantic.

See: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/05/the-strange-case-of-atts-payments-to-michael-cohen/559994/
mendyk 5/9/2018 | 2:52:53 PM
Re: Context In technical terms, that's known as dog-track money. AT&T spends like $18 million a year just to have its name affixed to the Dallas Cowboys' football stadium.
James_B_Crawshaw 5/9/2018 | 4:46:58 PM
Re: Well spent, or spent down the well I could have given them those insights for $2k
DanJones 5/9/2018 | 6:05:02 PM
Re: Context Well it's the only LLC we know about so far. Could there be, more? We don't know.... How did AT&T even know to pay the money to that brand new consulting firm as well?
mendyk 5/10/2018 | 9:36:29 AM
Re: Context The more you know, the more you don't want to know. That sage advice was passed along to me by one of my connected relatives.
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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