Report: AT&T paid Pres. Trump’s lawyer to advise on Time Warner deal

WASHINGTON — AT&T paid President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, $600,000 for advice on its proposed purchase of Time Warner shortly after Trump’s election, according to a report published Thursday by The Washington Post.

The ties between AT&T and Cohen had previously been revealed, but the telecommunications company had only said it agreed to pay the attorney to gain a better understanding on how the incoming Trump administration might approach a wide range of issues, including antitrust issues.

The Justice Department is seeking to block AT&T’s $85 billion purchase of Time Warner on the grounds that it would stifle competition. AT&T disagreed, sending the battle into a federal trial. U.S District Judge Richard Leon is expected to issue a ruling next month.

Dallas-based AT&T Inc. didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment about the Post’s story. Its contract with Cohen ended last year.

Cohen also received payments from other companies seeking insights about the Trump administration. The list includes pharmaceutical giant Novartis, which has confirmed paying Cohen $1.2 million.

Federal prosecutors are investigating Cohen for possible bank fraud centered on a $130,000 payment to silence Stephanie Clifford, a porn star better known as Stormy Daniels, who says she had sex with Trump in 2006, a tryst the president has denied.