Sean Hannity revealed as Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's mystery third client
Michael Cohen Sean Hannity revealed as Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's mystery third client
Fox News host says he might have handed Cohen â10 bucksâ but that none of his discussions âinvolved a matter between me and a third partyâ
Donald Trumpâs legal fixer Michael Cohen has also been representing the firebrand conserv ative Fox News host Sean Hannity, one of only three private legal clients Cohen has taken on in the past year, his lawyer told a federal court on Monday.
Cohenâs legal team and private lawyers for the president were back in court on Monday to fight a plan by Trumpâs justice department to start looking through records from their decade-long working relationship.
District judge Kimba Wood had ordered Cohen to disclose all his private practice legal clients since he left the Trump Organization after the 2016 election, but the presidentâs longtime confidant had partially resisted the courtâs order. In a letter to Wood from his attorneys, Cohen disclosed that he had been representing the president and the disgraced former GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy, but declined to reveal the identity of a third client.
However, lawyers for Cohen were forced on Monday afternoon to disclose that Hannity was the third individual.
Shortly after the revelation, Hannity said on his radio show that his legal relationship with Cohen involved âoccasional discussions with him for his input and perspectiveâ and he had assumed those discussions were confidential and covered by client confidentiality.
Hannity said he might have âhanded him 10 bucksâ for advice but none of those discussions âever, ever involved a matter between me and a third partyâ.Michael Cohen: who is Trump's legal 'pit bull' who was raided by the FBI? Read more
A spokesperson for Fox News republished a statement Hannity had posted on Twitter.
The cable news veteran has frequently used his show to malign the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, led by special counsel Robert Mueller. It was a referral from Mueller that led to the FBIâs raids on Cohenâs offices last week.
Speaking on the evening the raids occurred, Hannity, who had not disclosed that Cohen was his lawyer, used his show to a ddress Mueller directly. He said: âIf you have evidence â" any at all â" show it to us or end this partisan investigation. The country is hanging by a thread tonight and you donât seem to care.â
The letter from Cohenâs attorneys, sent to the court on Monday morning, disclosed that Cohen had provided seven other anonymous individuals with âstrategic advice and business consultingâ rather than traditional legal advice since he entered private practice.
Federal prosecutors in New York want a special âtaint teamâ of government lawyers to begin reviewing files seized from Cohen last week so they can decide which documents are protected by attorney-client privilege and which may be used to prosecute Cohen.
Cohen is under criminal investigation, prosecutors confirmed last Friday. He may face charges from a grand jury operating separately from one being used byMueller for his Trump-Russia investigation.
Cohen is âbeing investigated for crimina l conduct that largely centers on his personal business dealingsâ, Thomas McKay, an assistant US attorney, said in a court filing. Cohen has long described himself as an attorney for Trump but has for years filled a more wide-ranging role as a general troubleshooter.
Further adding to the drama, Stephanie Clifford, a pornographic film actor known as Stormy Daniels who alleges that she had a sexual encounter with Trump and was paid $130,000 by Cohen to keep quiet, was present during Mondayâs hearing.
The pursuit of Cohen by prosecutors in New Yorkâs southern district presents a second front of legal peril for Trump, who reacted furiously to the FBI raids and claimed they were part of the same supposed âwitch-huntâ led by Mueller that has blighted his presidency.
Communications between lawyers and the people they represent are typically kept confidential under the doctrine of attorney-client privilege. But an exception exists for documents providing evidence that the attorney was involved in a crime.
The searching of any attorneyâs office by the government is highly unusual and typically triggers the appointment of the so-called taint team. Such special consideration is not given to ordinary suspects.
Trumpâs attorneys demanded in a letter to court on Sunday evening that the justice departmentâs plan be halted so that âour firm and the president may review for privilege those seized documents that relate to himâ â" an extraordin ary request from someone in Trumpâs position in this kind of case.
They called the FBI raids on Cohenâs home, office and hotel room âan operation disquieting to lawyers, clients, citizens and commentators alikeâ, and repeatedly referred to their client, whom they represent in a personal capacity, as âthe presidentâ.
Attorneys for Cohen had already applied to Judge Wood for a restraining order that would stop authorities reviewing the records seized from Cohen until Cohenâs team has reviewed the materials themselves.
McKay, the federal prosecutor, said in a court motion arguing against this that Cohenâs request was âunprecedented and is not supported by case lawâ. McKay stressed that the team of government lawyers who would review the seized material would be âwalled offâ from their colleagues, like himself, who are pursuing the criminal inquiry against Cohen.Man pictured with Michael Cohen group accused of racist threat in 1998 Read more
Prosecutors suggested in their filing that while Cohen âholds himself out as a practicing attorneyâ, he is actually exaggerating the extent of his work in an attempt to cast a wide net of attorney-client privilege over the records seized by the FBI. Cohen denies this.
The justice department has âreason to believe that Cohen has exceedingly few clients and a low volume of potentially privileged communicationsâ, McKay wrote.
âUnlike a search of a traditional law office, the information gathered thus far in the investigation suggests that the overwhelming majority of evidence seized during the searches will not be privileged material, but rather will relate to Cohenâs business dealings.âTopics
- Michael Cohen
- Donald Trump
- Stormy Daniels
- Fox News
- New York
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