The court's disclosure of Mr. Hannity occurred during the expanding criminal investigation of Mr. Cohen by the United States Attorney's Office in Manhattan. F.B.I. agents assaulted Mr. Cohen's home, office and hotel on the morning of April 9, a measure that President Trump called an "attack on our country."
In a legal presentation before Monday's hearing, Mr. Cohen said that, since 2017, he worked as a lawyer for 10 clients, seven of whom served as "strategic advisors and business consultants." The other three were President Trump, Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy and a third person who did not receive the name.
The mystery was resolved when Kimba M. Wood, judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, ordered that Mr. Cohen's attorney, Stephen Ryan, disclose the name of the client in question, who happened to be Mr. Hannity.
Mr. Hannity denied Monday that he was a client of Mr. Cohen, saying that he had never paid for his services and that his conversations with him were brief and focused on the real estate sector.
The surprising appointment of Mr. Hannity was made. after several minutes of back and forth between the government representatives, the members of the legal team of Mr. Cohen and Judge Wood.
Before revealing the name, Mr. Ryan argued that the mystery client was a "prominent person" who wanted to keep his identity a secret because he would be "embarrassed" to be identified for having sought Mr. Cohen's advice.
Robert D. Balin, a lawyer for several media outlets, including The New York Times, CNN and others, interrupted the hearing to argue that shame was not sufficient cause to retain a client's name, and Judge Wood was agree.
After Mr. Hannity was named, audible exclamations were heard from the spectators.
Monday's hearing was the result of a challenge from Mr. Cohen's attorneys, who advocated the appointment of a "special teacher" to examine the records. seized during the federal attack on April 9. The exact nature of Mr. Cohen's work for Mr. Hannity is not clear.
On Fox News, presenter Shepard Smith reported that his colleague had been named Mr. Cohen's client, saying it was time to address the "elephant in the room".
Almost at the same time, Mr. Hannity, on his radio show, said it was strange to see his name appear on Fox News and he wondered out loud if he should release a statement.
Just before 4 pm, he posted a message on Twitter: "Michael Cohen has never represented me on any issue, I never held him, received a bill or paid legal fees. brief discussions with him on legal issues about which he wanted his opinion and perspective. "
In a follow-up tweet Mr. Hannity added: "I assumed that those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear, they never involved any matter between me and a third party."
The reference to a third party seemed to be an allusion to one of Mr. Cohen's specialties: the preparation of confidential agreements. The lawyer acknowledged paying $ 130,000 to Stephanie Clifford, an adult film actress known as Stormy Daniels, as part of a confidentiality agreement to ensure her silence shortly before election day in 2016.
Last week, it came to light that Mr. Cohen had arranged for Mr. Broidy to pay $ 1.6 million to a former Playboy model, Shera Bechard, who became pregnant during an affair with Mr. Broidy. After the confidential treatment was made public, Mr. Broidy resigned his position as Vice President of Finance for the Republican Party.
Fox News declined to comment beyond Mr. Hannity's statements. In his primetime show on Monday night, Mr. Hannity seemed to suggest that he had not divulged his link with Mr. Cohen to his network, saying, "My discussions with Michael Cohen never reached any level I had to tell him. no one, who was asking him questions. "
April 9 – FBI night Raids on Mr. Cohen – Mr. Hannity, in a big scandal, opened his show by telling the viewers "keep in mind that Cohen was never part of the Trump administration or the Trump campaign."
"This is now officially a comprehensive effort to totally slander and, if possible, accuse the president of the United States," the host added.
Not to mention his relationship with Mr. Cohen, he continued, "Now, what that means is that Mueller's witch-hunt investigation is now a fugitive train that is clearly deviating from the tracks."
There is evidence in the air that Mr. Hannity and Mr. Cohen are far behind. In January 2017, shortly before the inauguration, Mr. Cohen was invited on Mr. Hannity's radio program. The host described him as Mr. Trump's lawyer and then added: "In addition, the full disclosure: a personal friend of mine, long before this election began."
Mr. Cohen replied, "Well, there goes my reputation now, Sean."
The friendly conversation took place shortly after the so-called Steele dossier suggested that Mr. Cohen had visited Prague, a claim that Mr. Cohen had denied. Between laughter, Mr. Hannity discussed Mr. Cohen's alibi: that he had taken his 17-year-old son to Los Angeles to meet a baseball coach.
Mr. Hannity praised Mr. Cohen's son as an "incredible pitcher, a talented pitcher."
Before the talk ended, Mr. Cohen thanked Mr. Hannity, saying, "Sean, I must be honest, in all fairness, you have been a beacon for Mr. Trump, for the campaign. It is very strange that people thank you, because everyone is very busy, especially now with the transition, but in the name of, obviously, Mr. Trump, the campaign, myself, really deserve a thank you. "
In between the jokes, the two mentioned talking to each other during the night phone calls and discussed how Mr. Trump's enemies would attack him after taking the Oval Office.
"You and I have discussed this: they are going to try to destroy Donald Trump," Hannity said.
"And I'm going to make this statement to your audience: there's no way I'm going to let it happen," Mr. Cohen replied.
There for Trump
Many years before Mr. Trump was a candidate, Mr. Hannity was there for him. In 2011, when Mr. Trump was making media rounds to promote an unfounded conspiracy theory – the so-called birther theory – that President Obama had not been born in the United States, Mr. Hannity gave him a forum in His radio and television shows.
Years later, his enthusiasm had not cooled. "I do not hide the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States," Hannity told Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times during the summer of 2016. After all, the Fox News presenter added: "Never I said I was a journalist. "
As election day approached, other conservatives turned their backs on Mr. Trump after the publication of the so-called "Access Hollywood" tape, during which the candidate grossly boasted of "grabbing" women by the "It was then that Mr. Hannity sealed his link with Mr. Trump by committing himself even more fully to him." Although he admitted that Trump's "words" were wrong, he quickly changed the subject to Bill Clinton, adding that "actions" of the former president with the women were "much worse."
In "Hannity" on Monday night, Fox the host offered a welcome "to all of you liberals in the media and throughout the United States" they usually do not tune their show, and then they denounced media speculation about their link to Mr. Cohen as "absolutely insane."
Demonstrate this, Mr. Hannity issued a montage, selected from television coverage. Monday's cable news anchors saying his name over and over again. It lasted 46 seconds.
Mr. Hannity faced an unexpected challenge from one of her guests, attorney Alan Dershowitz, who unexpectedly told the host that it would have been "much, much better" to reveal that he was a client of Cohen's.
And when Laura Ingraham – who follows Mr. Hannity at 10 pm, and recently faced a publicity boycott – showed up for the usual jokes between the hosts, she sent a practical joke in her own way.
"I'm glad for a millisecond", Mrs. Ingraham said: "the heat is off of me and you"
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