AT&T confirms it paid Michael Cohen for consulting on Time Warner deal

AT&T hired Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to advise the telecom giant on its purchase of Time Warner among other issues, ...

Posted: May 11, 2018 10:00 AM
Updated: May 11, 2018 10:00 AM

AT&T hired Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to advise the telecom giant on its purchase of Time Warner among other issues, the company confirmed on Thursday.

Cohen was also hired to advise the company on Federal Communications Commission regulation and tax reform, an AT&T spokesperson told CNN.

The Washington Post reported earlier Thursday that internal AT&T documents pertaining to Cohen's consulting deal indicated Cohen would "focus on specific long-term planning initiatives as well as the immediate issue of corporate tax reform and the acquisition of Time Warner." Part of that time would be spent on "legislative policy development" and "regulatory policy development."

On Tuesday AT&T confirmed that it had paid Cohen's company Essential Consultants for "insights into understanding" the new administration.

A source close to AT&T said the contract between Cohen and AT&T specifically stated that the work was not to include lobbying.

Related: AT&T says it cooperated in Mueller probe

In an email sent to AT&T employees earlier this week, the company said that it had retained Cohen in early 2017 to advise on "regulatory reform at the FCC, corporate tax reform and antitrust enforcement" and that he did no legal or lobbying work.

AT&T has had multiple issues in front of government regulators, including changes to net neutrality rules and an $85 billion deal to purchase Time Warner, CNN's parent company.

The FCC ultimately decided to lift the current rules on net neutrality, a decision that AT&T has generally supported. But the Justice Department sued to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner.

The arrangement between Cohen and AT&T was made public on Tuesday by Stormy Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti.

He alleged that AT&T made payments totaling $200,000 -- $50,000 a month for four months -- to the consulting company set up by Cohen shortly before the 2016 election. Cohen used that same company to pay Daniels $130,000 to keep her from speaking publicly about an alleged affair with Trump years prior. The White House says Trump denies the affair.

A source with knowledge of the matter told CNN on Thursday that AT&T actually paid Cohen $600,000 over the course of one year.

On Thursday FCC chairman Ajit Pai told reporters during a news conference that he had never received any inquiries from Cohen on net neutrality issues.

Sources familiar with the situation at the Justice Department told CNN that Cohen never contacted their antitrust division. One source familiar with DOJ's thinking said the antitrust team finds it "ironic" that AT&T was paying Cohen in what they believe was an effort to politically influence the department's decision while at the same time saying the department's decision was being influenced by politics.

Before the trial began, AT&T and Time Warner considered using a "selective enforcement" defense, essentially arguing that the Justice Department was targeting their merger partly because Trump doesn't like CNN. But the judge overseeing the case blocked AT&T and Time Warner's request for discovery on communication logs between the Justice Department and the White House, and the companies ultimately dropped the defense.

The judge is expected to issue his ruling on the Justice Department's lawsuit on June 12.

-- CNN's Brian Stelter contributed reporting.

West Lafayette
Overcast
80° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 81°
Kokomo
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 81°
Rensselaer
Overcast
75° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 75°
Fowler
Overcast
75° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 75°
Williamsport
Broken Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 83°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
81° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 82°
Frankfort
Overcast
81° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 82°
Delphi
Overcast
74° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 74°
Monticello
Overcast
74° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 74°
Logansport
Overcast
79° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 80°
Rain Returns In Sunday's Forecast
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 116549

Reported Deaths: 3577
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21322766
Lake10566323
Elkhart6623111
St. Joseph6488109
Allen6244203
Hamilton4893109
Vanderburgh365231
Hendricks2741123
Monroe259836
Tippecanoe248313
Johnson2328124
Clark222757
Porter215447
Delaware196062
Cass19509
Vigo183527
Madison167075
LaPorte144440
Floyd137063
Warrick133039
Howard131363
Kosciusko121817
Bartholomew117057
Marshall100724
Boone98146
Dubois97919
Hancock93043
Grant92534
Noble91532
Henry80326
Wayne76114
Jackson7589
Morgan72438
Shelby67429
Daviess67228
Dearborn66428
LaGrange63811
Clinton60214
Harrison58224
Putnam57912
Gibson5225
Knox5179
Lawrence51229
Montgomery51121
White48614
DeKalb48311
Decatur45839
Miami4363
Greene42635
Fayette42213
Jasper3962
Steuben3857
Scott37711
Sullivan33712
Posey3350
Jennings31412
Franklin30925
Clay3015
Ripley2988
Orange28824
Whitley2766
Carroll27513
Wabash2688
Adams2663
Washington2661
Starke2647
Wells2634
Jefferson2483
Spencer2463
Fulton2412
Huntington2363
Tipton22722
Perry21913
Randolph2167
Jay1850
Newton17311
Owen1691
Martin1660
Rush1554
Pike1511
Vermillion1300
Fountain1272
Blackford1193
Pulaski1131
Crawford1070
Brown1043
Parke1002
Benton870
Union790
Ohio787
Switzerland690
Warren401
Unassigned0226

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events