Trump Attorney's Unnamed Client Revealed: Sean Hannity

Lawyers for Michael Cohen tried to argue against release of name
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 16, 2018 2:31 PM CDT
Updated Apr 16, 2018 5:28 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump's personal attorney has been forced to reveal that another of his clients is Fox News host Sean Hannity. Lawyers for Michael Cohen argued in court on Monday that they could not identify Hannity because he asked that his name not be disclosed in connection with an FBI seizure of Cohen's files. But Judge Kimba Wood made one of the lawyers identify him in open court after a prosecutor argued Cohen wasn't being forthcoming about his law practice, reports the AP. Assistant US Attorney Tom McKay had specifically complained that Cohen wouldn't disclose the identity of the third client Cohen represented between 2017 and 2018 and described as a "publicly prominent individual." It turned out to be Hannity; the other two are Trump and former RNC official Elliott Broidy. CNBC reports the work Cohen specifically did for Hannity was not specified; Bloomberg reports a gasp was heard in the courtroom when his name was given.

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Wall Street Journal reporter Rebecca Ballhaus had Hannity's immediate reaction, tweeting: "We have been friends a long time. I have sought legal advice from Michael." He later released a statement saying Cohen has never represented him, and that they've only had occasional and brief talks about "legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective," and that the topic was "almost exclusively" real estate. He says he "did not ask Michael Cohen to bring this proceeding on my behalf" and wanted to be left out of the proceeding; indeed, a source tells CNN Hannity never asked Cohen to assert attorney-client privilege. The names of Cohen's clients are at issue because the lawyer has argued that materials seized in an FBI raid on his home and office are subject to that privilege. The search sought information on a variety of matters, including a $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels; Daniels was in the courtroom on Monday for the arguments. Hannity and the source say his discussions with Cohen have nothing to do with the government's investigation or any third parties.

(Read more Sean Hannity stories.)

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