This morning, in a seemingly made-for-TV drama, the lawyer for Trump’s own embattled lawyer, Michael Cohen, was forced to reveal the name of a “publicly prominent individual” also represented by the aforementioned Cohen. The client, it turns out, is Fox News‘ Sean Hannity.
On tonight’s show, one of Hannity’s guests was esteemed attorney and political commentator Alan Dershowitz. Without skipping a beat, Dershowitz took it to the embattled Fox News host for not disclosing his relationship with Michael Cohen, despite reporting on him for weeks.
“I really think you should have disclosed your relationship with Cohen,” Dershowitz said.
The statement was a humiliating moment for Hannity – to get called out for this glaring conflict of interest that any reporter would know undermines his or her journalistic ethics. Of course, the word “reporter” is used lightly when describing Hannity.
.@AlanDersh calls out Hannity for not disclosing Cohen ties!
DERSHOWITZ: "I really think that you should have disclosed your relationship with Cohen when you talked about him on this show."
HANNITY: "I have the right to privacy." pic.twitter.com/CuCIIo8fuw
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 17, 2018
At this morning’s hearing, Todd Harrison, the lawyer for Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, argued that the Trump team should be able to review all documents seized by the FBI before they get a crack at it.
One of the arguments was that the identity of a third “publicly prominent individual” whom Cohen also represents would be inadvertently exposed to scrutiny. Harrison, of course, did not want that name to be released to the public.
The other clients are Donald Trump, for whom Cohen made an illegal $130,000 payout in hush money to Stormy Daniels using campaign funds, and Elliott Broidy, former deputy national finance chair of the RNC, for whom Cohen made a $1.6 million payout to a former Playboy model who said Mr. Broidy had impregnated her.
When presiding Judge Wood requested the legal grounds for withholding the client’s name, Trump’s lawyer said, “I’m simply trying to protect the privacy of that individual.”
Judge Wood, however, asserted that a client’s fear of guilt by association is not enough to prevent disclosure, followed by a mandate: the name “must be disclosed publicly now.”
“I understand that he doesn’t want his name out there, but that’s not enough under the law,” Judge Wood explains.
“The client’s name is Sean Hannity,” Stephen Ryan, Cohen’s lawyer, said.
The implications of the fact that Michael Cohen is lawyer to both Donald Trump and Sean Hannity are massive. There is, of course, the glaring conflict of interest that the President of the United States and a right-wing conspiracy theorist who gives instruction to him via Fox News are represented by the same man. In fact, Hannity reported for weeks on Michael Cohen without ever disclosing that he himself is also a legal client, in flagrant disregard to any modicum of journalistic ethics that Fox News has left.
There is also the fact that, as a self-described “fixer,” Cohen deals frequently in extramarital affairs. Chances are that Hannity’s wife is none too pleased with today’s developments.
While Hannity may try to downplay the significance of today’s revelation, watching him get reprimanded live on air was certainly humbling, to say the least.