There were some delicious developments in Trumplandia today. This Friday, a federal judge ordered President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen to disclose his client list by 10am on Monday.
Before Monday, Cohen said he had three clients: Donald Trump, Elliot Broidy (the Trump fundraiser who retained Cohen to negotiate a hush money payment to a Playboy Playmate), and a third client who Cohen’s lawyer said asked not to be named publicly because it would be “embarrassing.”
When court convened this Monday afternoon, the judge denied the request from Cohen’s attorney and forced him to admit that the third client was none other than Sean Hannity of Fox News.
“We have been friends a long time. I have sought legal advice from Michael,” Hannity told a Wall Street Journal reporter shortly after the news broke.
That’s why the following Fox News report on Shepard Smith’s program is all the more fascinating to watch.
The segment started with Smith asking reporter Laura Ingle if she’s “learned anything new.”
“Uh, we have learned a lot new,” she replied.
“One of Cohen’s attorneys was asked by the judge to specifically name the other name because they said it wouldn’t fall under attorney-client privilege to withhold that name, and he stood up, and named him as Sean Hannity,” Ingle told Smith. Seemingly not wanting to address the development any further, she continued, “So, moving on the rest of what is happening today…”
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 16, 2018
Later on his show, Smith addressed the “elephant in the room.”
“Of course, for sure the elephant in the room is that Sean Hannity is said to have been a third client of Michael Cohen,” Smith said. “There’s a statement at the Hollywood Reporter that says, you know, ‘we’ve been friends a long time, he did some legal work for me.’ Hannity’s producers are working to contact him, since it’s now part of the story, we’ll report on it when we know the rest of it. A lot of people here know his number.”
On his radio show after the news broke, Hannity tried to downplay his relationship with Cohen.
I’ve known Michael a long, long time. Let me be very clear to the media: Michael never represented me in any matter. I never retained him in any sense. I never received an invoice from Michael. I never paid legal fees to Michael. I’ve had occasional conversations with him on which I wanted his legal perspective. I assume those had attorney-client privilege. Not one issue ever involved a matter between me and any third party.
He echoed a similar statement on Twitter:
As many are pointing out, the ethical implications of Hannity’s vigorous defense of Cohen to his audience while having a secret relationship with him are serious. Hannity has been railing against the FBI raid on Cohen without disclosing he was one of his clients, which is a conflict of interest. He even had Cohen on to defend himself from reports that be made a secret trip to Prague — a segment where Hannity took up considerable time to make Cohen’s case for him. His audience should have known he has a personal stake in that story. Since Cohen is under criminal investigation, whatever Hannity used his services for is likely going to come out in court.
As ThinkProgress points out, Hannity was accused by a right-wing blogger of sexual harassment last year. Maybe Cohen “fixed” that situation for him.
Featured image via screen grab