NEW YORK — Apr 16, 2018, 10:46 PM ET

Trump lawyer forced to reveal another client: Sean Hannity

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A legal fight over what should happen to records the FBI seized from President Donald Trump's personal attorney took a surprise twist Monday when the lawyer, Michael Cohen, was forced to reveal a secret — that he had also done legal work for Fox News host Sean Hannity.

The disclosure came as a New York judge disappointed a lawyer for Trump by letting prosecutors proceed with the cataloguing of evidence including multiple electronic devices that were seized in raids while a system is set up to ensure that records protected by attorney-client privilege aren't disclosed to investigators.

Lawyers for Cohen and prosecutors both had reason to claim success after three hours of arguments before U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, who said she may appoint a special master, a neutral lawyer, to help decide which materials should stay confidential.

Wood denied a request by Trump's lawyer, Joanna Hendon, that the president and Cohen get the first crack at designating which documents should be off-limits to investigators.

Hannity's name emerged after the judge pressed Cohen to divulge the names of the clients he's worked with since the 2016 election, whose privileged communications might be contained within his files.

Cohen's legal team said he had just three clients in 2017 and 2018.

One was Trump. Another was Elliott Broidy, a Trump fundraiser who resigned from the Republican National Committee on Friday after it was revealed that he paid $1.6 million to a Playboy Playmate with whom he had an extramarital affair. The Playmate became pregnant and elected to have an abortion.

Cohen's lawyers resisted revealing the name of the third client, saying it would be embarrassing and unnecessary. Plus, the client had specifically asked for privacy and requested that they appeal any demand to divulge his name.

But Wood pressed on.

"I understand he doesn't want his name out there, but that's not enough under the law," she said, after hearing legal arguments from Robert Balin, a lawyer for five news organizations including The Associated Press.

When the name was announced, there were gasps and some laughter in a courtroom packed with journalists. A few of them raced from the courtroom.

Cohen's lawyers did not detail the type of legal work he did for Hannity.

On his radio show, Hannity said Cohen was never involved in any matter between him and any third party.

"Michael never represented me in any matter," Hannity said. "I never retained him in any traditional sense. I never received an invoice. I never paid a legal fee. I had brief discussions with him about legal questions where I wanted his input and perspective."

Later he added on Twitter the legal advice he got from Cohen was "almost exclusively about real estate."

Hannity addressed the controversy twice during his television show Monday night, brushing off criticism from lawyer Alan Dershowitz who told him, "you should have disclosed your relationship with Cohen when you talked about him on the show."

Hannity replied that the relationship was minimal and that he had a right to privacy. "It had to do with real estate and nothing political," Hannity told Dershowitz.

He gave a lengthier explanation at the end of his show, saying Cohen "never represented me in any legal matter." He called Cohen a great attorney, but said none of their discussions ever included a third party and were centered on real estate.

Hannity, an outspoken supporter of Trump, has been a fierce critic of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Monday's hearing began with an appearance by porn actress Stormy Daniels, who was swarmed by photographers and nearly fell as she was hustled into the courthouse, a scene that captured the sensational atmosphere around the case.

The last to enter court, she was among the first to leave. While in court, she smiled several times as she observed the proceedings from a folding chair near the back of the room. Outside afterward, she said Cohen has acted like he's above the law and that she and her lawyer are committed to making sure everyone learns the truth.

The April 9 raid on Cohen sought information on a variety of matters, including a $130,000 payment made to Daniels, who alleges she had sex with a married Trump in 2006.

At stake is an investigation that could uncover the inner workings of Trump's longtime fixer and image protector. People familiar with the probe told the AP that agents were seeking bank records, records on Cohen's dealing in the taxi industry, Cohen's communications with the Trump campaign and information on payments made in 2016 to two women who say they had affairs with Trump, former Playboy model Karen McDougal and the porn star Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Lawyers for Cohen filed papers Monday saying investigators "took everything" during the raids, including more than a dozen electronic devices.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas McKay said in court that the government took images of the contents of most electronic devices, leaving them behind after the raids, and that cataloguing evidence might be delayed because some devices must be sent to an FBI laboratory to "decrypt" because they require code words.

Prosecutors say that material should be reviewed by a team of Justice Department lawyers independent from the investigation who could identify records that should remain confidential. That team, they said, could provide the documents to Trump and other Cohen clients for their own review.

Trump, who was in Florida on Monday, said all lawyers are now "deflated and concerned" by the FBI raid on Cohen.

"Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past," he tweeted Sunday. "I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided with everything, including their phones and computers, taken. All lawyers are deflated and concerned."

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  • Tom Smith

    As in the 3rd world...political assassinations are next...

    America the top 3rd world country!

  • Daniel Shays

    The hearing should have been private. Another violation of the 4th Ammendment

  • Bud Simpson

    Wouldn't it be funny if Mueller's team raids Fox News' offices and Hannity's office and home?

    Just when you think this administration can't sink any lower...they do!!

  • WhosVoice

    Cohen is trying to keep a document/ communication from prosecutors by claiming attorney client privilege & Hannity is screaming "he's not my lawyer"

    Hannity isn't the sharpest tool.

  • Jay_J Jacob

    So this is great news, then......Cheryl Mills should be getting a raid soon then. As well as all the lawyers that Obama took on since he left the presidency.
    It is going to be one raid after another on all the cabal players. Happy day!

  • Jay_J Jacob

    just over to the Am Bar Association...saw that this breach could be within the law.

  • Samuel Ryan

    Sean. Methinks thou doth protest to much. So this guy whose entire purpose in life is to FIX sexual descretions and hush them up was giving you real estate advice?

  • mollydtt

    This will get worse for Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen. Sean Hannity will have to talk about pandas again.

  • ESNYC80

    Supposedly the justification for the raid on Cohen's office was potential fraud on Cohen's part in his negotiations with Daniels. If Trump was laundering money through his lawyer, that would constitute fraud. OK, so far.

    However, this sets a precedent for which no one should cheer. The Clinton campaign paid Fusion GPS for the Steele dossier, through their law firm, Perkins Coie. This was not properly disclosed, which would constitute fraud.

    It's been claimed that, when punched, Trump punches back 10 times as hard. The precedent has now been set that it's OK to raid the law offices of high level politicians if a suitable legal justification can be found. It would now be very difficult to argue against the same tactic being used against Perkins Coie, but they represent(ed) not just Clinton, but Obama, many cabinet officials, and dozens of Democratic Senators and Representatives.

    Regardless of what you think of Trump, does this precedent not scare you? Will you be fine with all of Perkins Coie's legal records being put into an easily searchable database, from which it can all be leaked to the press?

    I'm not, but that may be where this is headed.

  • Bodee84

    These people, Cohen, Conway, huckabee and now add Hannity, remind me of the people that protected Damien in the Omen movies. I have faith that Mueller will get to the bottom of this one Big Fat Mess and bring dignity and honor back to the White House.

  • Truthfully

    EPA Pruitt BROKE Law as per Federal Watchdog?

    Sean Hannity is just another Conspiracy and Propaganda Pusher for a Morally Unfit president.
    Fox Channel will Now be Known as the Cartoon of Crooks!

  • WiredWilly

    I can't believe the comments I am reading on this and other threads, Most of you are fascist at heart! Storm Lawyers Offices and then force them to divulge their clients and you approve of this conduct. This is what dictators and communist do to their political opponents, then jail or kill them. Most of you approve of this type of conduct because you hate who Cohen is associated with. Just hope one day this is not you under suspicion.

  • SpeakingForThoseWithBrains

    All of Trumps and FOX's dirty laundry is gonna come out in the open.....

  • BannedSimplyForPosting230

    "Cohen's lawyers did not detail the type of legal work he did for Hannity"

    Not to worry, the left will make up plenty of stuff.

  • brickmette

    While thinking about all this...this Trump Mess, I was shocked to realize that the only honest, above-board person in all of this is ...Stormy Daniels.

  • Lightfoot77

    Take the, 'News' off your logo, Fox.

  • rightened

    And now Trump is going to need Comey's assistance regarding the fire at Trump Tower, where there were no smoke detectors... whoopsie, he might be unavailable!

  • rightened

    Cohen knows he's caught. Make no mistake.

  • Lightfoot77

    “A gasp was heard in the courtroom when a Cohen lawyer disclosed the name of the third client: Sean Hannity,” noted Bloomberg.

  • Bill Toone

    Hannity and Cohen both look like dumb jocks. They will be totally outsmarted.

  • rightened

    ABC News' first ten minutes was ALL on Trump. Well, the man's ego wanted attention. He's certainly got it now, and he's dragging everyone down with him.

  • b rubble

    Your honor, the fox would like to decide what evidence taken from the hen house is to be disclosed.
    Let's see how long it takes for the trump moderator to remove this again.

  • rightened

    "I think it's possible. I don't know... these are more words I never thought I'd utter about a President of the United States... it is stunning and I wish I wasn't saying it." - James Comey in his interview with George S., regarding possible Russian involvement.

  • RG

    The X factor all this is the unmitigated arrogance of Trump, Cohen, et al. It's what usually brings even smart people to disaster. Criminals always imagine they can outsmart the law.

  • Mudbone ☠

    I figured it out! Trump is suffering from the same disease Al Capone did. Paresis derived from syphilis. In 1946, his physician and a Baltimore psychiatrist, after examination, both concluded Capone then had the mentality of a 12-year-old child. I mean with all the hooker and porn stars it's very possible and this could explain Trumps childish behavior.

  • rightened

    "I will do anything to protect Mr. Trump." - Michael Cohen

    Really?

  • rightened

    "After court, Stormy Daniels' attorney invites her to come to the mic..."

    Interesting that Cohen can't/won't dare to do the same for HIS client...

  • stamped human bacon

    Hannity: "I never retained him in any traditional sense."

    What does that mean?

    I guess then he shouldn't expect any confidentiality, you know, in any traditional sense.