Trump ex-lawyer Cohen: drugmaker Novartis wanted him to lobby, he refused

FILE PHOTO: Joe Jimenez, the CEO of Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis AG, arrives earlier than a information convention to current the corporate’s 2016 ends in Basel, Switzerland January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s former private lawyer Michael Cohen testified on Wednesday that Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG initially wanted him to foyer for the corporate when it retained him with a $1.2 million contract, however that Cohen refused.

“Novartis despatched me their contract, which acknowledged particularly that they wanted me to foyer. That they wanted me to present entry to authorities, together with the president, “ Cohen stated.

“That paragraph was crossed out by me, initialed, and written in my very own handwriting that claims I can’t foyer or do authorities relations work,” he instructed members of the House Oversight Committee.

Novartis is one among a number of firms that paid Cohen via his agency Essential Consultants after Trump was elected so as to glean extra perception into Trump’s administration.

When information of these funds got here to mild final yr, the drugmaker’s ex-chief government stated the contract was a mistake and he ought to have tried to hearth Cohen in March of 2017.

Cohen testified on Wednesday that he had supplied Novartis in-person and phone entry “whenever they needed,” and estimated he spoke with the corporate about six occasions.

“Six times?! Wow! $200,000 a phone call,” Republican Congressman Mark Meadows replied.

Last yr, former Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez, who had co-signed the contract with Cohen alongside normal counsel Felix Ehrat, stated: “We wanted to terminate the contract at that point, but in the end we decided there would be almost-certain litigation.”

Novartis spokesman Eric Althoff, in an emailed assertion on Wednesday, stated the corporate “previously addressed all questions” relating to its relationship with Essential Consultants and considers the matter closed.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Doina Chiacu in Washington; further reporting by Deena Beasley; enhancing by Meredith Mazzilli and James Dalgleish

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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