Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

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

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

Cohen is "being investigated for criminal conduct that largely centers on his personal business dealings", Thomas McKay, an assistant United States attorney, said in a court filing.

Cohen, his lawyer disclosed, represents Hannity along with Trump and Elliot Broidy, the prominent Los Angeles-based Republican fundraiser.

Hannity said Monday that he occasionally turned to Cohen when he had legal questions but that he never paid him to be his attorney.

The legal showdown began last week when FBI agents searched Cohen's office, home, hotel room and safe-deposit box, seizing records and documents as part of a probe by federal prosecutors in NY into possible bank fraud and wire fraud.

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.

On Monday, when it was finally announced that President Donald Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, also represented Fox News host Sean Hannity, it was clear that the channel could soon be facing certain challenges if it made a decision to keep Hannity as a host.

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On the radio, Hannity did not directly address his lack of disclosure but hinted at a possible defense - that he did not consider himself a formal client of Cohen's. None of this went the way Cohen's attorneys had hoped, of course, but the ultimate resolution to the attempted hiding of Hannity's identity was entirely a self-inflicted wound on the part of Cohen's legal team.

The names of Cohen's clients are at issue because the lawyer has argued that materials seized in an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on his home and office are subject to attorney-client privilege.

Cohen is in court in connection to raids on his home, hotel room and office last week.

Investigators are examining Cohen's role in paying $176,000 (NZ) to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in 2016 for her silence about an affair she alleges she had with Trump in 2006.

After ignoring an initial hearing last week, Wood said Cohen should make sure he was at the next hearing. They called the search "completely unprecedented". Before a nightly audience of more than three million viewers, the biggest in cable news, Mr. Hannity has regularly defended the president and excoriated his critics.

Daniels, wearing a pink skirt and black heels, stumbled and nearly fell on the wet sidewalk outside the courthouse among a throng of reporters and camera crews.

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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.

Then she ruled against Cohen's secrecy request-prompting Harrison to ask whether he should use the envelope or just say it out loud.

Attorneys for Cohen and Trump are seeking to block prosecutors from examining items seized in the raids, arguing that at least some of the material is protected by attorney-client privilege. They, in a filing on Sunday night, made clear that they believe Cohen and Trump's lawyers should receive copies of the seized materials to make their own assessment of which documents are privileged.

Also in the Manhattan federal court was Ms Daniels, whose appearance triggered a scrum from photographers outside.

Communications between lawyers and the people they represent are typically kept confidential under the doctrine of attorney-client privilege. One was $130,000 to Stormy Daniels, the porn actress, and she attended the crowded court hearing. So, I've known Michael a long, long time. Prosecutors say Cohen is being investigated for an undisclosed crime related to his personal business dealings. Earlier in the day, Cohen's lawyers said in a letter to District Judge Kimba Wood that he had only three clients, but they refused to divulge Hannity's name.

She is involved in a separate civil suit over the payment.

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