Judge orders Cohen to reveal a secret client: Sean Hannity

Trump lawyer Michael Cohen expected at court hearing over searches
Trump lawyers fight to keep seized Cohen files out of investigators' hands

17 April, 2018

Cohen's attorney revealed earlier Monday that Hannity is the previously unnamed third client for whom Cohen has done legal work. He says he took out a home equity loan to personally pay porn actress Storm Daniels $130,000 to keep silent about an alleged affair with Trump.

After last week's raid on Mr Cohen's offices, Hannity took to the airwaves to denounce the probe as a "declared war against the president of the United States". "Let me set the record straight: Michael Cohen never represented me in any legal matter, I never retained his services".

"I have a right to privacy", the Fox News host retorted.

Cohen is one kind of Trump protector, Hannity is another kind.

But the bombshell reveal today in court came when the judge ordered the lawyer to reveal the name of Cohen's third client: Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity. The investigation has frustrated the White House as it has spread to enfold some of Trump's closest confidantes.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom McKay asked a federal judge Monday to require Michael Cohen to reveal more information about his clients.

"Obviously, most likely is that he's not", Comey said.

The letter demanded Trump and Cohen's lawyers be allowed to decide which items seized are protected by attorney-client privilege before criminal prosecutors see them.

In fact, Trump and Hannity have benefited from each others' platforms immensely - Hannity lent unwavering support to Trump when other news outlets were critical of him, while Trump's frequent appearances on Hannity's show boosted Hannity to some of the highest ratings in cable news.

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Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was another.

She is involved in a separate civil suit over the payment.

Joseph Evans, right, and Todd Harrison, left, the lawyers for Michael Cohen, outside Manhattan Federal Court in NY on Friday.

Cohen, dressed in a dark suit, at times looked tense, folding and clasping his hands in front of him. Cohen has long described himself as an attorney for Trump but has for years filled a more wide-ranging role as a general troubleshooter. On his radio show Monday afternoon, he said he has "eight" different lawyers, and that he never paid Cohen any legal fees.

Hannity's explanation included that his "de minimus" discussions with Cohen were nearly exclusively about real estate, and not part of the current dispute.

Legal advice can be considered privileged even if given by a lawyer for free. Cohen represented Trump in offering hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels, and Hannity has called CNN's president a "porn king" for the network's coverage of the Stormy Daniels scandal. He never mentioned his association with Cohen during that broadcast.

The Latest on efforts by President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer to stop criminal prosecutors from reviewing materials seized in raids before they have a chance to review them for potential breach of attorney-client privilege. Cohen reportedly did "traditional legal tasks" for three clients ― Trump, former Republican National Committee official Elliott Brody and a third person who asked to remain anonymous.

"I have faith in the Southern District US Attorney's Office that their integrity is unimpeachable", making a taint team "a viable option", Judge Wood said. Instead, she instructed prosecutors to assemble and index the seized records and give copies to all parties in the case.

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