US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer was forced on Monday to reveal in a NY federal court that Fox News personality Sean Hannity, one of Trump's most ardent defenders, was also on his client list.
Michael Cohen's attorneys Monday revealed Hannity as the third unnamed client of Cohen's, a disclosure that came as Cohen's attorneys tried to persuade a federal judge in NY to delay prosecutors from examining material seized in FBI raids of Cohen's home and office last week on the grounds many of them are protected by client-attorney privilege.
Michael Cohen, president Donald Trump's personal lawyer, walks on Park Avenue on Wednesday in Manhattan. The judge said Cohen's lawyer had to identify all three, and Hannity's name came out. Cohen said his only other two clients in the past year were Trump and Republican donor Elliott Broidy.
"As to the one unnamed legal client, we do not believe that Mr. Cohen should be asked to reveal the name or can permissibly do so", the lawyers added.
Wood then demanded that Ryan reveal the client's name. I did have occasional, brief conversations with Michael Cohen, this great attorney, about legal questions I had.
When the name was announced, there were gasps and some laughter in a courtroom packed with journalists. Cohens lawyers did not detail the type of legal work he did for Hannity.
On Monday, he said, "Now, keep in mind, Cohen was never part of the Trump administration or the Trump campaign".
"My discussion with Michael Cohen never rose to any level that I need to tell anyone I was asking him questions", Hannity said. "I've never been a client in the traditional sense". "I have the right to privacy". "It was such a minor relationship and it had to do with real estate and nothing political".
Connolly said Hannity's involvement with Cohen represents a conflict of interest, calling it "a big stain on Hannity and Fox News". Attorneys for Cohen suggested appointing an impartial special master to decide.
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After ignoring an initial hearing last week, Wood said Cohen should make sure he was at the next hearing. She also appeared in court on Monday. While in court, she smiled several times as she observed the proceedings from a folding chair near the back of the room.
A prosecutor says Donald Trump's personal attorney isn't being forthcoming about his law practice. 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.
At stake is an investigation that could uncover the inner workings of Mr Trump's longtime fixer and image protector.
Cohen has arranged at least two hush-money payments to women who claimed they had sexual affairs with Trump. Maddow continued. "Sean Hannity meeting with his lawyer on national television without disclosing that the guy he was interviewing was actually his own lawyer".
Prosecutors have asked that the seized documents be reviewed for attorney-client privilege by a "filter team" of lawyers within their own office, who would be walled off from the main prosecution team.
Cohen has argued that some of the documents and data seized in last week's raids are protected by attorney-client privilege or otherwise unconnected to the investigation.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted: "Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past".
"Everybody's going insane here", Hannity said between radio segments attacking former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey. "All lawyers are deflated and concerned!"