Of Avenatti, Giuliani said, "I don't get involved with pimps". AT&T then hired him as a political consultant in 2017 and paid him $50,000 a month for a total of $600,000 for the year. Its payments flowed into Essential Consultants, a company Cohen set up in the fall of 2016 to pay pornographic-film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 as part of a confidentiality agreement to keep her quiet about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump.
Federal prosecutors are investigating Cohen's financial dealings for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations.
Actually, there was never any "lobbying" work, according to AT&T, which reportedly released an internal memo Friday written by CEO Randall Stephenson.
"Our company has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons these last few days and our reputation has been damaged", Stephenson wrote.
Crisis communications pro Merrie Spaeth explains the corporation was trying to make insider connections with the new president by hiring Cohen. "The guy is really collateral damage". "They were asking him to help them get a feel on the administration and where the administration is going", said Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight. "That was smart", Spaeth said.
They were wrong. In November, the DOJ went to court to block the deal, alleging that the combination of the two companies would give AT&T too much power in the marketplace. By October, they thought the thumbs-up was right around the corner.
The judge in the case is expected to issue a ruling by or on June 12.
His comments about AT&T are notable because a political cloud has been hanging over the deal since day one.
The announcement comes after Stormy Daniel's lawyer, Michael Avenatti, revealed documents Tuesday detailing thousands of dollars worth of payments made to Cohen from AT&T, another company linked to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, pharmaceutical giant Novartis and Korea Aerospace Industries.
AT&T's board of directors does not hold Stephenson responsible for the lack of vetting, one source said. His critics on the board also point to his failed attempt to purchase T-Mobile in 2011 and his $49 billion acquisition of Direct TV.
"The president wasn't aware that [Cohen] had gotten money for it", he said. In the midst of all this, Giuliani continued his ongoing press tour by telling HuffPost that the president was behind the Justice Department's efforts to halt the AT&T-Time Warner merger.
Now, Giuliani has suggested Trump in fact was central to that decision. But Weinstein says the judgement used to hire Cohen, of all people, is bad optics for the company.