Trump lawyer reveals secret client
Gasps, laughter as Cohen’s third client revealed
NEW YORK • A legal fight over what should happen to records the FBI seized from U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal attorney took a surprise twist Monday when the lawyer, Michael Cohen, was forced to reveal a secret: He had also done legal work for Fox News host Sean Hannity.
The disclosure came as attorneys for Cohen and Trump tried to persuade a New York judge to delay prosecutors from examining records and electronic devices seized in the raids on the grounds that many of them are protected by attorney-client privilege.
U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood said in hearings Friday and Monday that if Cohen wanted the court to declare some of his files were protected because of attorney confidentiality rules, he would have to divulge the names of the clients he’s worked with since the 2016 election.
One was, of course, Trump himself. Another was Elliot Broidy, a Trump fundraiser who resigned from the Republican National Committee on Friday after it was revealed that he paid US$1.6 million to a Playboy Playmate with whom he had an extramarital affair. The Playmate became pregnant and elected to have an abortion.
With Cohen by their side on Monday, lawyers initially resisted revealing the name of the third client for privacy reasons, saying that it would be embarrassing for the client.
But Wood pressed on. “I understand he doesn’t want his name out there, but that’s not enough under the law,” she said.
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.” 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.
The April 9 raid on Cohen sought information on a variety of matters, including a US$130,000 payment made to Daniels, who alleges she had sex with a married Trump in 2006.
Porn actress Stormy Daniels arrives at Federal Court in New York on Monday to attend a hearing on whether materials the FBI seized from Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, should be protected.