Cohen's Lawyer Says Hannity Is A Client - But Hannity Disagrees

Trump lawyer Michael Cohen expected at court hearing over searches

Fox News host Sean Hannity disputes a claim that he was a client of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney - an assertion Cohen's lawyers made in court on Monday during a surprising turn in the legal spat over records seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Hannity's name unexpectedly came up in court Monday as a judge hearing a motion brought by Cohen's legal team to exclude some items seized in the raid pressed them to identify Cohen's clients.

Last week, prosecutors said in a court filing that they have been investigating Cohen for months "for criminal conduct that largely centers on his personal business dealings".

Attorneys for Donald Trump and his legal fixer Michael Cohen are due back in court on Monday to fight a plan by Trump's justice department to start looking through records from their decade-long working relationship. Cohen has acknowledged paying Daniels $130,000 in 2006.

But Eddie Scarry, the media reporter for the conservative Washington Examiner, suspected that Trumpworld was more anxious about potential skeletons in Cohen's closet than they were letting on.

"He is objecting that anyone other than himself" be able to make that determination, Trump attorney Joanna Hendon told the court. "But if these guys are this crime family why do you think they'd keep something incriminating around?" Some see Trump's lawyer as overzealous bully.

The government has proposed that Cohen's materials can be reviewed by a walled-off "taint team" of prosecutors that will judge which material is relevant to the investigation and filter out documents that should be kept private.

Instead, the judge split the decision, ordering both sides to return with an estimate of the volume of evidence that could be covered by attorney-client privilege and then she would decide the expedient way of handling that review. They argued that the client's identity should remain sealed to preserve his privacy and avoid subjecting him to embarrassment.

Fox News host Shepard Smith acknowledged Hannity's connection to Cohen on the air Monday.

McKay, the federal prosecutor, said in a court motion arguing against this that Cohen's request was "unprecedented and is not supported by case law". Wood said she wanted more information before ruling.

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.

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The social media statements about Hannity touched the far corners of reality, with "DeityFree" commenting, "Obviously, the lack of oxygen from living in that fake news buble is going to your head".

"I've known Michael a long, long time". In 2016, Hannity told the New York Times, "I never claimed to be a journalist" in response to questions about his role advising Trump. I never retained him in the traditional sense as retaining a lawyer. The unexpected naming of Hannity made him the latest prominent media personality to be drawn into the investigation's cast of unlikely supporting characters.

Hannity played down the relationship, saying he occasionally asked Cohen legal questions but never paid him.

Cohen also arranged a $1.6-million payment to secure the silence of a former Playboy model who said she became pregnant by Elliott Broidy, a top Republican fundraiser, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.

A source familiar with the raids said last week that the information Federal Bureau of Investigation agents were seeking included information about payments to Daniels.

Cohen also masterminded hush payments to women who'd allegedly had affairs with Trump.

On Twitter Sunday, Trump decried the breach of his communications with Cohen.

Mr Trump's attorney says he made the payment just before the 2016 election, but maintains Mr Trump did not know about it. "All lawyers are deflated and concerned!"

She ordered prosecutors to give Cohen's lawyers a copy of the seized materials before the next hearing.

Whether formal or informal, the apparent legal relationship between Cohen and Hannity raises obvious issues.

But a letter to the court, Cohen's lawyers painted a very different version of events. "Such a rule is unworkable and ripe for abuse", wrote Robert Khuzami, deputy U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY. Hannity is a personal friend of President Trump. "He is radioactive", Avenatti reiterated. "[They] directed Mr. Cohen to appeal any order to disclose their name".

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