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Trump's Lawyer Michael Cohen Forced To Reveal Third Client Is Sean Hannity

April 16, 2018 - 2:05 pm
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) -- President Donald Trump's personal attorney has been forced to reveal that another of his clients is Fox News host Sean Hannity.
 
Lawyers for Michael Cohen argued in court on Monday that they could not identify Hannity because he asked that his name not be disclosed in connection with an FBI seizure of Cohen's files. But Judge Kimba Wood made one of the lawyers identify him in open court.

Hannity said on his radio show that he has known Cohen for a long time but said he never hired Cohen, never retained him and never paid him. He said he has asked Cohen legal questions and assumed those conversations were protected under attorney/client privilege.
 
The hearing in a New York City courtroom stems from a surprise raid this month on Cohen's home and office. 
 
The search sought information on a variety of matters, including a $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had sex with a married Trump in 2006. Daniels was in the courtroom on Monday for the arguments. 

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

Lawyers for Cohen and Trump want to be allowed to decide which items seized from his home and office are protected by attorney-client privilege before criminal prosecutors see them.

In a filing earlier Monday, Cohen's lawyers said investigators "took everything" during raids last week on his residence and office. They called the search "completely unprecedented."

The hearing is taking place in federal court in Manhattan.

The raid carried out last Monday at Cohen's apartment, hotel room, office and safety deposit box sought bank records, records on Cohen's dealing in the taxi industry, Cohen's communications with the Trump campaign and information on payments he made in 2016 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and to Daniels, people familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press.

One of Trump's lawyers, Joanna Hendon, filed papers late Sunday asking a federal judge to block prosecutors from studying material seized in the raid until Cohen and the president have both had a chance to review those materials and argue which are subject to attorney-client privilege.

"Fairness and justice — as well as the appearance of fairness and justice — require that, before they are turned over to the Investigative Team, the seized materials relating to the President must be reviewed by the only person who is truly motivated to ensure that the privilege is properly invoked and applied: the privilege-holder himself, the President," Hendon wrote.

On Friday, lawyers for Cohen appeared in federal court in New York asking that they, not the Department of Justice, be given a first crack at reviewing the seized evidence to see if it was relevant to the investigation or could be forwarded to criminal investigators without jeopardizing attorney-client privilege.

Prosecutors want a different system, in which a special team of Justice Department lawyers not directly involved in the probe would review the material and determine what was off-limits to investigators because of attorney-client privilege.

Hendon proposed yet another level of protections, in which Cohen's lawyers, after finishing their initial review, then be required to "identify to the president all seized materials that relate to him in any way and provide a copy of those materials to him and his counsel."

Trump, or his lawyers, would then get to say what he believed to be off-limits to investigators.

Trump said Sunday that all lawyers are now "deflated and concerned" by the FBI raid on Cohen.

"Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past," he tweeted. "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!"