Will Hannity’s pristine reputation ever recover from this?
During a court hearing on Monday, lawyers for Michael Cohen attempted to shield the identity of a prominent person that Cohen had been secretly representing. But after several minutes of back-and-forth, Federal Judge Kimba Wood ruled that the identity of the client must be revealed to the public in open court.
Now we know why the lawyers tried so hard.
Cohen’s mystery third client is Sean Hannity, Trump’s No. 1 Fox News cheerleader, who has advanced the idea that the raids on Cohen’s home and office last week are part of a deep-state conspiracy to bring the president down.
Hannity has been on this conspiratorial trip since President Trump took office, but now we know that he had an extra, very personal stake in the latest phase of the multiple investigations into Trump-related malfeasance. And while Hannity is not known for avoiding conflict of interest, or for ethical journalism in general, his failure to disclose his connection to Cohen may be a new nadir, even for him.
And that’s before even getting to what, exactly, Cohen was doing for Hannity. Was he arranging secretive payouts to women, as he did with his other two clients, Trump and Elliott Broidy, the now-former deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee? Was it something even shadier?
On his radio show Monday afternoon, Hannity responded forcefully to the revelation.
After denying that he had paid Cohen any attorney fees, he said that any matters the two discussed would be covered under attorney-client-privilege rules, which he had apparently requested in a not-at-all sketchy way:
He also said that the matters discussed between him and Cohen did not involve a third party, as they did with Trump and Broidy.
He repeated his claims on Twitter:
At the very least, this news might make it a little awkward for Hannity to keep up his “Michael Cohen is an innocent victim” routine.