Michael Cohen and his lawyers went to court in New York City yesterday. The hearing was to figure out certain things about Cohen’s “law practice” which seemed to consist of himself, a surreptitious tape recorder, millions of dollars from God knows where, and a Trump campaign email account. One of the big priorities of Monday’s hearing was figuring out A) if Cohen was an actual lawyer with actual legal work or if he was just a shady political fixer hiding behind a law degree and B) ifCohen had any other clients besides Donald Trump and the conservative anti-choice Republican Party official who paid his Playmate $ 1 million-plus in hush money after she had an abortion.
As it turns out, Cohen had one other client: Sean Hannity. The same Sean Hannity who has been railing against Robert Mueller, the FBI and the Department of Justice for a year now. The same Sean Hannity who never disclosed to his employers or his viewers that he had a conflict of interest while “reporting” on any story involving his fake-lawyer/fixer. Apparently, when Hannity’s name was revealed in court, there were audible gasps in the gallery and in the media-room link-up. After everyone lost their minds about Hannity using Denture Don’s mob lawyer/fixer, Hannity made the effort to distance himself from Cohen, telling his radio audience that he had “brief discussions” with Cohen and “Michael never represented me in any matter. I never retained him in the traditional sense of retaining a lawyer. I never received an invoice from Michael.” Hannity also claimed that there was no “third party” involved in his discussions with Cohen, meaning that Hannity wasn’t out there, using Cohen as a middle-man to pay off hookers, Playmates and porn stars. Hannity also released this statement on Twitter:
Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective. I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third-party.
In response to some wild speculation, let me make clear that I did not ask Michael Cohen to bring this proceeding on my behalf, I have no personal interest in this proceeding, and, in fact, asked that my de minimis discussions with Michael Cohen, which dealt almost exclusively about real estate, not be made a part of this proceeding.
Real estate, huh? Real estate legal issues aren’t really a sexy headline grabber like “Playmate” and “abortion,” but it’s worth saying this too: Trump has been up to his eyeballs in shady real estate deals for decades, and so the idea that Hannity went to Trump’s lawyer/fixer on the issue of “real estate” doesn’t placate me whatsoever that this sh-t doesn’t stink to high heaven, even if Hannity is telling the truth. Also: if what Hannity says is true and that he never received a bill and never considered Cohen his actual lawyer, then what Cohen told the court was a lie. Basically, this is a gigantic clusterf–k.
As for the rest of the hearing, Trump’s new lawyer argued that all of Cohen’s files belonged to Trump, basically, and that the files should go back to Trump, who will assess which files can be released to the court. The judge was like “nah.” There will be additional hearings, but basically the files are not going back to Trump and Cohen. Some sort of special master or “taint team” will likely be appointed to go through the files to decide what is privileged and what is not.
It was revealed Monday in a court hearing that Michael Cohen had done secret legal work for Fox News host Sean Hannity, who asked that his name not be disclosed. Here are six times the commentator defended Cohen https://t.co/Yrp0wOpppc pic.twitter.com/MkNKQm12Jf
— POLITICO (@politico) April 16, 2018