Trump lawyer forced to re­veal an­other client: Sean Han­nity

The Sentinel-Record - - HOT SPRINGS/FYI - TOM HAYS LARRY NEUMEIS­TER

NEW YORK — 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 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 that 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 $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 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. Co­hen, in a light blue tie and dark suit, spent most of the hear­ing look­ing for­ward, his hands folded.

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.”

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 is­sue is ex­actly who gets to look at Co­hen’s seized doc­u­ments and de­vices be­fore they are turned over to pros­e­cu­tors. At­tor­neys for Co­hen say they want first crack. Trump’s lawyers say they also want some form of prior re­view. An­other op­tion is to set up a “spe­cial mas­ter” who would vet the ma­te­rial to de­ter­mine what is pro­tected and what isn’t; that is the Co­hen team’s sec­ond choice.

Pros­e­cu­tors, who say they raided Co­hen’s of­fice, home and ho­tel room as part of an undis­closed crime re­lated to his per­sonal busi­ness deal­ings, pre­fer the or­di­nary pro­ce­dure of re­view­ing the doc­u­ments with a panel of pros­e­cu­tors un­re­lated to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion — a so-called “taint team.”

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 As­so­ci­ated Press 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. They said that pros­e­cu­tors had al­ready in­ter­cepted emails from Co­hen and ex­e­cuted the search war­rants only af­ter dis­cov­er­ing that there were no emails be­tween Trump and Co­hen.

One of Trump’s lawyers, Joanna Hen­don, asked the judge to block pros­e­cu­tors from study­ing ma­te­rial seized in the raid un­til Co­hen and the pres­i­dent have both had a chance to re­view those ma­te­ri­als and ar­gue which are sub­ject to the “sa­cred” at­tor­ney-client priv­i­lege.

“The seized ma­te­ri­als re­lat­ing to the pres­i­dent must be re­viewed by the only per­son who is truly mo­ti­vated to en­sure that the priv­i­lege is prop­erly in­voked and ap­plied: the priv­i­lege-holder him­self, the Pres­i­dent,” Hen­don wrote in court pa­pers filed Sun­day.

Wood ad­journed the hear­ing Mon­day, re­ject­ing Hen­don’s re­quest for a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der on the grounds that it was too early for such an ob­jec­tion. As a first step, the judge said the gov­ern­ment should put the doc­u­ments in a search­able data­base to de­ter­mine which should come un­der re­view. Pros­e­cu­tors said they ex­pected they could de­ter­mine by mid­week how fast they can ac­com­plish that.

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!”

The As­so­ci­ated Press

DANIELS AR­RIVES: Stormy Daniels ar­rives at fed­eral court Mon­day in New York, to at­tend a court hear­ing where a fed­eral judge is con­sid­er­ing how to re­view ma­te­ri­als that the FBI seized from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s per­sonal lawyer to de­ter­mine whether...

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