Michael Cohen's lawyers say report alleging payments had 'numerous inaccurate statements'

Key Points
  • Porn star Stormy Daniels' lawyer published a report Tuesday night alleging payments made to a company owned by Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
  • Lawyers for Cohen pushed back on the report in a Wednesday court filing, calling some of the statements inaccurate.
  • The filing also questioned how the lawyer, Michael Avenatti, obtained the information.
Michael Cohen exits a hotel in New York in April.
Jeenah Moon | Reuters

Lawyers for President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, on Wednesday disputed some of the allegations from a report questioning payments made to Cohen's company, saying it contained "numerous inaccurate statements."

In a court filing, the lawyers said the report attributes payments to Cohen that were actually sent to different individuals who are also named Michael Cohen.

"The Michael Cohen who apparently received this wire is a Canadian citizen who has conducted foreign aid work for Actuarial Partners in Tanzania — not the plaintiff Michael D. Cohen in this case," Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan, said in response to one of the payments allegedly made to his client.

White House responds to Cohen payments story
White House responds to Cohen payments story

Cohen's lawyers also questioned how the person who compiled the report, lawyer Michael Avenatti, obtained the information.

"Mr. Avenatti has published some information that appears to be from Mr. Cohen's actual bank records, and Mr. Cohen has no reason to believe that Mr. Avenatti is in lawful possession of these records," the filing said.

Avenatti, who represents Stormy Daniels, the adult film star suing Cohen and the president to void a nondisclosure agreement barring her from discussing an alleged affair with Trump, said on Twitter that the objections to his report were "baseless, improper and sanctionable."

Michael Avenatti tweet: Mr. Ryan's submission on behalf of Mr. Cohen is baseless, improper and sanctionable. They fail to address, let alone contradict, 99% of the statements in what we released. Among other things, they effectively concede the receipt of the $500,000 from those with Russian ties.

The rebuttal from Cohen's lawyers came a day after a report from Avenatti's firm alleged that numerous companies, including AT&T, Novartis and Korea Aerospace Industries, had made payments to Cohen's company, Essential Consultants.

AT&T and Novartis both confirmed in subsequent statements they had made payments to the company.

AT&T said in a statement that it had paid Essential Consultants for "insights" into the Trump administration — payments Avenatti's report claims totaled $200,000 in four installments between late 2017 and early 2018.

The report also claimed Novartis paid Cohen's company nearly $400,000. In a statement Wednesday, Novartis said that it had, in fact, paid much more: The pharmaceutical company signed a one-year contract paying Essential Consultants $100,000 per month for guidance "as to how the Trump administration might approach certain U.S. health-care policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act."

The court filing from Cohen's lawyers disputes another allegation from Avenatti's report: that a Russian oligarch and his cousin made eight payments to Cohen through the company Columbus Nova.

Cohen's lawyers say the allegation is "incorrect," citing a Columbus Nova statement that the company is owned by Americans, and that neither the Russian oligarch "nor anyone else, other than Columbus Nova's owners, were involved in the decision to hire Cohen or provided funding for his engagement."