Trump lawyer names mys­tery client

US pres­i­dent and his most ar­dent de­fender Fox News per­son­al­ity Sean Han­nity share the same le­gal ad­viser

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - WORLD -

NEW YORK— US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s per­sonal lawyer was forced on Mon­day to re­veal in a New York fed­eral court that Fox News per­son­al­ity Sean Han­nity, one of Trump’s most ar­dent de­fend­ers, was also on his client list.

Michael Co­hen, Trump’s fiercely loyal and pug­na­cious lawyer, dis­closed Han­nity’s name through one of his own lawyers at the or­der of the judge.

Stormy Daniels, an adult­film ac­tress who says she had a sex­ual en­counter with Trump, watched from the pub­lic gallery.

Con­fi­den­tial

Daniels, in a sep­a­rate civil case, is fight­ing a 2016 nondis­clo­sure agree­ment ar­ranged by Co­hen in which she got $130,000 to stop her from dis­cussing her claim she had sex with Trump a decade ear­lier, some­thing Trump has de­nied.

Han­nity, 56, said on Mon­day that he had never paid for Co­hen’s ser­vices or been rep­re­sented by him, but had sought con­fi­den­tial le­gal ad­vice from him.

The con­ser­va­tive host of­ten uses his week­night broad­cast on Fox News to de­fend the pres­i­dent against what he sees as bi­ased at­tacks by the me­dia.

Some­times Trump praises Han­nity in re­turn.

Seized ma­te­ri­als

Co­hen was in court to ask the judge to limit the abil­ity of fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors to re­view doc­u­ments seized from his of­fices and home last week as part of a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which stems in part from a probe into pos­si­ble col­lu­sion be­tween Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and Rus­sia.

The Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion has frus­trated the White House as it has spread to en­fold some of Trump’s clos­est con­fi­dantes.

Judge Kimba Wood spent more than two and a half hours lis­ten­ing to ar­gu­ments by Co­hen’s lawyers, pros­e­cu­tors from the US at­tor­ney’s of­fice in Man­hat­tan and a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing Trump in the hear­ing. She is ex­pected to rule later. She or­dered pros­e­cu­tors to give Co­hen’s lawyers a copy of the seized ma­te­ri­als be­fore the next hear­ing.

The un­ex­pected nam­ing of Han­nity made him the lat­est prom­i­nent me­dia per­son­al­ity to be drawn into the in­ves­ti­ga­tion’s cast of un­likely sup­port- ing char­ac­ters.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was an­other.

As she ar­rived at the court­house dressed in a laven­der suit, pho­tog­ra­phers knocked over bar­ri­cades as they scram­bled to get pic­tures.

Daniels sat with her lawyer, Michael Ave­natti, who told re­porters they were there to help en­sure pro­tec­tion for the in­tegrity of the seized doc­u­ments, some of which they be­lieve per­tain to the Daniels agree­ment.

Co­hen, dressed in a dark suit, at times looked tense, fold­ing and clasp­ing his hands in front of him.

Gasps and laugh­ter

Co­hen has ar­gued that some of the doc­u­ments and data seized from him un­der a war­rant are pro­tected by at­tor­n­ey­client priv­i­lege or oth­er­wise un­con­nected to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

But Wood said she would still need the names of those other clients, and re­jected his ef­forts to mask the iden­tity of Han­nity, a client Co­hen had said wanted to avoid public­ity.

“I un­der­stand if he doesn’t want his name out there, but that’s not enough un­der the law,” Wood said, be­fore or­der­ing the name dis­closed.

Stephen Ryan, a lawyer for Co­hen, drew gasps and laugh­ter from the pub­lic gallery when he named Han­nity as the client.

Af­ter his iden­tity was re­vealed, Han­nity said on his syn­di­cated ra­dio show, and again later on his Fox News pro­gram, that he had “oc­ca­sional, brief dis­cus­sions” with Co­hen in which he sought out Co­hen’s “in­put and per­spec­tive.”

Han­nity said he as­sumed those dis­cus­sions were cov­ered by at­tor­ney-client priv­i­lege, and in­sisted that none in­volved any mat­ter be­tween him­self and a third party.—

AFP

COMMONLAWYER Michael Co­hen, long­time per­sonal lawyer and con­fi­dante of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, leaves Fed­eral Court af­ter his hear­ing in New York City.—

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