The revelation came as a judge is deciding whether to let federal prosecutors sift through materials the FBI seized from the Trump attorney’s home.
The legal battle over federal investigators’ raids on President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen took an unexpected turn Monday as an attorney identified Fox News host Sean Hannity as one of Cohen’s legal clients.
Cohen’s attorneys had acknowledged publicly that he represented Trump and former Republican National Committee deputy finance chair Elliott Broidy in legal matters, but they had sought to avoid naming a third client. Under direct orders from a judge, Cohen’s attorney Stephen Ryan named Hannity as the client in court on Monday.
The revelation came amid an extraordinary showdown between a sitting president and his own Justice Department over access to files seized in the raids on Cohen’s home and office last week and over whether the materials are protected by attorney-client privilege. Hannity’s connection to Cohen was revealed after the conservative commentator — one of Trump’s staunchest defenders — fiercely criticized federal officials for the raids, without disclosing his own connection.
Cohen’s attorneys were asked to name his clients as part of the fight over whether the records were subject to attorney-client privilege, but they initially sought to avoid naming his third legal client. Ryan called him “a public and prominent individual” and said he had asked not to be identified.
Wood wouldn’t accept that. “I understand that he doesn’t want his name out there. That’s not enough. I order you to disclose the client now,” the judge said.
Many in the the courtroom gasped audibly when Ryan revealed that Hannity was the client, and a half-dozen journalists rushed out to report the development.
It was not immediately clear what sort of legal work Cohen did for Hannity. The conservative media figure, who seemed taken aback by the disclosure as he addressed it on his syndicated radio program Monday afternoon, eventually said most of the advice related to real estate.
He denied being a formal client of Cohen’s but said the Trump lawyer provided some advice he considered confidential.
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