It is getting ridiculous how much the phrase “You just can’t make this up,” is applicable to Donald Trump’s administration. But the news on Monday morning definitely applies. As Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen headed back to court for a hearing to suppress materials seized during the raid on his office and home, the surprise was supposed to be the presence of Stormy Daniels. That’s not how it worked out.
Prior to this hearing Cohen was ordered by the judge to disclose the three clients that he claimed to be representing. There was some dispute as to whether Cohen was actually doing any legal work. So Cohen supplied the names of Donald Trump and Elliot Broidy. Broidy just resigned from his post at the Republican National Committee after it was disclosed that he paid $1.6 million to a Playboy Playmate to hide his affair. Cohen facilitated that payoff.
However, Cohen’s lawyers declined to reveal the name of the third client. Until now. And it turned out to be Fox News host Sean Hannity. According to reports:
In their letter to Wood, Cohen’s lawyers said he had given legal advice or handled dispute resolution for three clients since 2017: Trump, venture capitalist Eliot Broidy and another person.
Broidy on Friday resigned from his post as deputy finance chair at the Republican National Committee after it was revealed that Cohen had helped arrange Broidy’s $1.6 million payment to a Playboy model in exchange for her silence about their affair and her pregnancy, which was aborted.
“The third legal client directed Mr. Cohen to not to reveal their identity publicly,” Cohen’s lawyers wrote to Wood.
The lawyers added, “As to the one unnamed legal client, we do not believe that Mr. Cohen should be asked to reveal the name or can permissibly do so.”
Cohen’s lawyers argued that identifying the third client was “likely to be embarrassing or detrimental to the client.” No kidding. At this time it is not known what matters Cohen was representing Hannity on. But the fact that he served as the conduit for payments to mistresses for his other two clients is more than a little suspicious.
Hannity has been the most fiercely loyal Trump-fluffer on Fox News. But he has also taken positions defending Cohen since the U.S. Attorney in New York raided his offices. For instance:
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) April 12, 2018
The fact that Hannity and Trump share a lawyer cuts deeply into his ability to continue reporting on the President. There has to be a complete accounting of the relationships and any legal crossover. And it has to go more in depth than it’s just the “Deep State” attacking him and Trump.
Now there will have to be some response from Fox News. Is it possible for Hannity to continue doing commentaries about Cohen and Trump considering the obvious conflict of interest and overt bias that these relationships represent? Can Fox even keep him on the air? At the very least the network has to get a more complete disclosure from Hannity in order to discern if he has been violating any network codes of conduct. Of course, it is Fox News so they may decide to do nothing simply because their ethics are no better than Hannity’s.
UPDATE: Hannity is saying that he has asked Cohen for legal advice, but he was never his client and was never billed. In effect he’s calling Cohen a liar because Cohen told the court that Hannity is his “client.”
And Hannity has been in litigation with a woman who asserts sexual misconduct.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.