Trump lawyer’s se­cret client: Fox News host

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - - News | International - David Gard­ner US Cor­re­spon­dent

A FOX News per­son­al­ity has been named as the se­cret client of Don­ald Trump’ s per­sonal lawyer Michael Co­hen.

Sean Han­nity, who works for Ru­pert Mur­doch’s TV chan­nel, is one of the pres­i­dent’s most fer­vent sup­port­ers. He was named in court in New York.

The sur­prise twist came dur­ing a hear­ing in which a judge blocked a bid by Mr Trump to stop gov­ern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tors read­ing doc­u­ments and records seized in an FBI raid on Mr Co­hen’s home and of­fice last week.

The rul­ing came amid White House fears that the lawyer could strike a deal with pros­e­cu­tors to de­tail his deal­ings with Mr Trump.

Judge Kimba Wood de­nied a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der and pre­lim­i­nary in­junc­tion be­ing sought by Mr Trump and Mr Co­hen against the US gov­ern­ment. The raid was linked to an al­leged $ 130,000 ( £ 90,000) “hush money” pay­ment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had a fling with Mr Trump in 2006.

Mr Co­hen — who has ad­mit­ted mak­ing the pay­ment in 2016 — had ar­gued in vain that the com­put­ers, phones and doc­u­ments seized in the raid were pro­tected un­der at­tor­ney-client priv­i­lege laws.

Han­nity was iden­ti­fied — draw­ing a gasp from the pub­lic gallery — in spite of claims by Mr Co­hen’s lawyers that he was a prom­i­nent fig­ure who would face un­due scru­tiny if he was named.

In a tweet to­day, Han­nity de­nied ever be­ing rep­re­sented by Mr Co­hen. “Michael Co­hen has never rep­re­sented me in any mat­ter. I never re­tained him, re­ceived an in­voice, or paid le­gal fees,” he wrote. “I have oc­ca­sion­ally had brief dis­cus­sions with him about le­gal ques­tions about which I wanted his in­put and per­spec­tive.”

In an­other tweet, he added :“I as­sumed those con­ver­sa­tions were con­fi­den­tial, but to be ab­so­lutely clear they never in­volved any mat­ter be­tween me and a third-party.”

Mr Co­hen claimed to have just three clients: Mr Trump, Han­nity and Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee fundraiser El­liott Broidy, who re­signed af­ter ad­mit­ting that the lawyer had ar­ranged a $1.6 mil­lion (£1.1 mil­lion) pay­ment to a for­mer Play­boy model who be­came preg­nant dur­ing their af­fair.

Mr Trump de­nies hav­ing an af­fair with Ms Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. She made an ap­pear­ance at yes­ter­day’s court hear­ing.

In­ter­ested party: Stormy Daniels puts a shoe back on af­ter pass­ing se­cu­rity at court in New York City

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