Sean Hannity unmasked as Trump lawyer’s mystery client

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    Sean Hannity (left) and Michael CohenImage copyright Twitter/ Sean Hannity
    Image caption Sean Hannity (left) and Michael Cohen

    A Fox News host is the mystery third client of US President Donald Trump’s lawyer, a court has heard.

    A judge ruled that Michael Cohen, the president’s personal attorney, must reveal the link to Sean Hannity.

    Hannity, a vocal Trump advocate who has never previously divulged any legal ties to the president’s attorney, denied being a client of Mr Cohen.

    Monday’s hearing in a New York City court follows an FBI raid this month on Mr Cohen’s home and office.

    Agents were seeking evidence on various matters, including a $130,000 (£90,000) payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

    Image copyright Getty Images
    Image caption Mr Hannity visited the White House shortly after Mr Trump was elected

    It not is clear why Hannity hired Mr Cohen.

    There are unconfirmed reports that the work was linked to an advertiser boycott of Hannity’s show by the left-wing Media Matters group.

    The conservative host, who is known for passionately defending Mr Trump on his Fox News show, emailed a denial to Reuters news agency.

    “Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter,” the Fox host said.

    “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.”

    Just before Monday’s hearing, Mr Cohen said in a statement he had only provided advice to three clients in the past year.

    Image copyright Reuters
    Image caption Adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, goes through security screening at court

    One was Mr Trump. Another was a Republican fundraiser who admitted to paying a former Playboy model after she became pregnant during their affair.

    The third client, Mr Cohen said, had refused to give him permission to be publicly named.

    But Judge Kimba Wood made one of the lawyers identify Hannity on Monday.

    Also in the Manhattan federal court was Ms Daniels, whose appearance triggered a scrum from photographers outside.

    Image copyright Getty Images
    Image caption Michael Cohen walked through Manhattan over the weekend

    Mr Cohen has admitted making a payment to the adult film actress, who claims the money was to keep her quiet about an affair she says she had with a married Mr Trump in 2006.

    Mr Trump’s attorney says he made the payment just before the 2016 election, but maintains Mr Trump did not know about it.

    Mr Cohen was in court to argue for the return of files that were seized by the FBI last week, which he says are protected under attorney-client privilege.

    He is facing a criminal inquiry, which the president has strongly criticised.

    The payoff to Ms Daniels could amount to a campaign finance violation.

    The White House has denied Mr Trump had an extramarital affair.

    After last week’s raid on Mr Cohen’s offices, a visibly angry Hannity took to the airwaves to denounce the probe as a “declared war against the president of the United States”.

    “It is clear, as I have been warning, Mueller is out to get the president and it appears at any cost,” he said referring to the Department of Justice special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by the Trump White House.

    “Clearly, his [the special counsel’s] objective is to remove him from office,” he continued.

    “Now, I told you and I’ve told anyone who will listen: Mueller’s team is corrupt, starting with him, and it has been from the beginning.”

    More on Sean Hannity:

    Advertisers desert embattled Fox host

    ABC star’s ‘gay insult’ in Fox News spat

    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43791164

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43791164

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