Trump lawyer’s secret client: Fox News host
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