Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, has another high-profile client: Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity.
The information was revealed during a federal court hearing in New York City a short while ago, where Cohen and his attorneys are attempting to block the FBI from reviewing the documents, electronic records, and other evidence that were seized last week from Cohen’s office, home, and hotel room.
Cohen’s attorneys sought to protect this evidence by claiming a broad attorney-client privilege over all of them, but as my colleague Patterico has pointed out, merely being an attorney is not enough to claim the protection of the privilege.
Cohen has further troubles because he has claimed publicly that the $130,000 payoff to Stormy Daniels, reportedly to obtain her silence regarding an alleged affair with Trump, was done without Trump’s knowledge.
There can be no attorney-client privilege if the claimed “client” was unaware of the attorney’s activity. Cohen and Trump, by their own public comments, have made it far more difficult to claim this protection over records related to the president.
Cohen’s attorneys also sought to protect the evidence by claiming he represented a mysterious third client, who had not made any comments publicly and therefore should be protected. This person was a “publicly prominent individual,” said Cohen’s attorney, and they argued they should not have to disclose the name.
Without getting too far into the legal weeds here, there was some arguing back and forth from the federal prosecutors, Cohen’s attorneys, and Robert Balin, an attorney representing the interests of several media outlets. Long story short, there is a public right to know certain information (see Vignelli v. U.S. for some discussion) and that outweighed an individual’s right to privacy.
That attorney’s name is Robert Balin, who reads a citation indicating that a client’s fear of guilt by association is not enough to prevent disclosure.
The reason this is so, Balin says, is, “So that We the People, and the press, can monitor our institutions.”
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) April 16, 2018
“I understand that he doesn’t want his name out there, but that’s not enough under the law,” ruled Judge Kimba Wood.
“The client’s name is Sean Hannity,” stated Cohen’s attorney.
This is a breaking story and we will update as needed.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.
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