Michael Cohen's Defense Filing Fights False Reports

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The Avenatti document revealed a series of payments to Essential Consultants beyond the "hush money" payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

CNN reported on Wednesday that after Trump won the White House, Cohen highlighted his proximity to the President as a selling point to potential clients. Kasowitz Benson Torres specializes in commercial litigation and has represented many large US and foreign companies.

Cohen has been Trump's personal attorney since before he became president.

According to a source with knowledge of the matter, the contract with Cohen's firm started shortly after inauguration day in January.

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing Stormy Daniels, released a memo this week alleging Cohen received approximately half a million dollars from a company linked to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg along with payments from other companies, including telecommunications conglomerate AT&T.

"We now have multiple different things that Michael Cohen was doing for all these different companies".

"Novartis cooperated fully with the special counsel's office and provided all the information requested", it said.

Drugmaker Novartis signed a one-year agreement with Essential Consultants in February 2017, paying Mr. Cohen $1.2 million total.

"The law is very narrow in terms of what constitutes a bribe", Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor in NY, told Bloomberg.

"Mr. Ryan's submission on behalf of Mr. Cohen is baseless, improper and sanctionable".

AT&T is generally supportive of the Trump administration's moves to change net neutrality rules, though the company has publicly called on Congress to settle the internet freedom debate by passing a federal net neutrality law.

The company is in contention for a multibillion joint United States contract with Lockheed Martin for jet trainers.

The company did not renew the contract after it expired earlier this year. An Air Force official said on Monday that it now expects to award the contract within the next year. Those transactions amounted to less than $1,000 each, Avenatti said.

Companies routinely pay Washington advisers for strategic advice and access to policy issues.

The contract was approved in early 2017 under the former Novartis chief executive Joe Jimenez and was part of its efforts to learn more about how the new Trump administration might approach certain USA healthcare policy matters. We want you to know the facts. Lockheed said Wednesday it was not aware of any connection between Korea Aerospace and Cohen.

Avenatti has commanded wall-to-wall media coverage for his client Daniels, who sued Cohen and Trump in California before a federal judge halted that lawsuit.

"Whenever you think the Trump soap opera couldn't get any more weird, it does", said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. "Most accountants, let alone attorneys, don't know much about this stuff unless they are used to working with government contractors". But they said he potentially violated the Lobbying Disclosure Act by failing to register as a lobbyist and could come under scrutiny for bank fraud and possible campaign contributions from foreign donors.

In September, Korean news reports cited industry analysts who said the corruption scandal could endanger the lucrative contract with the US government. After a single meeting, the company decided "not to engage further", it said. The two first met in June.