Novartis general counsel resigns over deal with Trump lawyer

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Novartis general counsel resigns over deal with Trump lawyer
FILE - In this April 26, 2018 file photo, Michael Cohen leaves federal court in New York City. Porn actress Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti, said Monday, May 14, he did nothing wrong by distributing a report last week that detailed the finances of the president's personal attorney, Cohen, and showed he had charged companies a hefty price for "insight" about Trump. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

GENEVA (AP) — 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.