On Monday, when President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen appeared in federal court, Fox News host Sean Hannity was revealed to be one of Cohen’s three clients. Appearing before federal judge Kimba Wood -- a Reagan appointee -- Cohen reportedly said that Hannity had once retained him. Minutes afterward, Hannity said on his syndicated radio show that he had never hired Cohen.
"Michael never represented me in any matter, I never retained him,” Hannity tweeted, “I never paid legal fees to Michael..but I have occasionally had brief legal discussions with him where I wanted his input and perspective." Hannity tweeted, “I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third-party.”
Cohen appeared in court as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into $130,000 Cohen paid to Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had an affair with Trump in 2006. Cohen had told the court earlier he had approximately 10 clients between 2017 and 2018, including Trump and former GOP fundraiser Elliot Broidy. The latter recently acknowledged paying $1.6 million to a Playboy model with whom he had an affair. Broidy resigned from his position at the RNC.
Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) April 16, 2018
Despite arguments by lawyer Steve Ryan that the previously unnamed third client is a “publicly prominent individual” who wanted no association with the investigation into Cohen’s business, the judge disagreed. In a letter to the judge, Cohen's attorneys wrote that attorney-client privilege is endangered because the documents seized by the feds at Cohen’s residence and office were about Cohen's clients and did not have anything to do with the president.
In part, they wrote: “A special master should be appointed in the interest of the administration of justice to ensure that the Government does not have access to materials for which they have not yet shown would be obtained through a valid search warrant through a showing of probable cause."
According to Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano, federal prosecutor claimed that President Trump is Cohen's only client. Appearing on “America’s Newsroom,” Napolitano said before the court appearance took place that Cohen is currently facing an "extremely dangerous" situation in the form of a potential indictment by federal prosecutors. "[This is] extremely dangerous for Michael Cohen," Napolitano said. "You never, ever get to question the person you're going to indict under oath before the indictment." He added, "This may very well be a trap for him." Napolitano said that charges could be "a crime related to fraud." Cohen’s lawyers have said that the raid by special counsel Mueller’s team was completely unprecedented.
Also, Cohen’s lawyers asked the court to allow them to review the documents. "This is perhaps the most highly publicized search warrant in the history of recent American criminal jurisprudence. It is paramount that the review of Mr. Cohen's data and documents be handled in such a way as to eliminate, as much as possible, even the 'appearance of unfairness,'" the letter said. On Sunday, Trump’s lawyers asked for copies of the seized material for review by the president.
Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past. 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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2018
On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past. 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!”
Napolitano said that federal officials have responded by saying President Trump is Cohen's only client. "The government responded by saying ... 'What you do for [Trump] isn't even practicing law. You're basically a dirty trickster and a fixer,'" Napolitano said. He also said he believes Cohen has been under surveillance by the federal government for months, including looking into cell phone conversations, text messages, emails, as bank institutions related to business doings.
Judge Kimba Wood was once a Playboy bunny.