LISTEN LIVE

Novartis General Counsel Resigns Over Deal With Trump Lawyer

May 16, 2018
Originally published on May 16, 2018 7:38 am

Novartis says its top lawyer is retiring over the Swiss pharmaceuticals company's relationship with a firm owned by U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

The Basel-based drugs company said general counsel Felix Ehrat was stepping down "in the context of discussions surrounding Novartis' former agreement with Essential Consultants, owned by Michael Cohen."

Novartis, in a statement Wednesday, quoted Ehrat as saying: "Although the contract was legally in order, it was an error," and that he took "personal responsibility to bring the public debate on this matter to an end."

Company spokesman Eric Althoff said last week that Novartis had entered into a one-year agreement with Essential Consultants in February 2017 — a month after Trump's inauguration — to focus on health care policy.