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Sean Hannity news is a real problem for Michael Cohen

Fox host Sean Hannity just helped the government's case against President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael C...

Posted: Apr 17, 2018 12:27 PM
Updated: Apr 17, 2018 12:27 PM

Fox host Sean Hannity just helped the government's case against President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, tremendously. Even irony itself was not prepared for that development.

Courtroom drama peaked Monday at a hearing in lower Manhattan when Michael Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan, reluctantly revealed to Judge Kimba Wood -- a judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York -- that Cohen's mystery third client was Hannity, the bombastic, unconditional champion of citizen-turned-candidate-turned-President, Donald Trump.

But the shock of that third-client revelation paled in comparison to Hannity's shocking denial, soon after, that he and Michael Cohen were ever in an attorney-client relationship.

In fact, while responding on his radio show to news that he had been identified as one of Cohen's three clients, Hannity explicitly stated that he was never represented by nor had he ever retained Cohen. He bent over backwards to deny the relationship, claiming nothing more than a few harmless chit-chats over real estate.

In an effort to distinguish his interactions with Cohen from those of Trump and Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy (the other two clients), Hannity implied that his own exchanges with Cohen did not entail the silencing of any alleged sexual partner, as these exchanges did not involve any third party.

Said Hannity, on his radio show Monday: "Not one of any issue I ever dealt with Michael Cohen on ever -- ever -- involved a matter between me and any third party."

Although he later clarified his comments to suggest that he expected that some of his conversations with Cohen would be confidential, his earlier denial that a relationship ever existed renders that expectation unpersuasive. It is gratuitous doublespeak.

Hannity's denial fatally undermined any credible claim by Cohen that their communications were protected from disclosure by the attorney client privilege. The privilege extends to only those private conversations that take place within an established attorney-client relationship, and even then, those conversations must specifically pertain to legal advice. The privilege does not extend to conversations simply because one of its participants happens to be an attorney.

Interestingly enough, this is precisely what the government argued in favor of the disclosure of Cohen's communications with other purported clients. To get the search warrant in the first place, the government had to have convinced the court that Cohen and his so-called clients were not actually in an attorney-client relationship, and therefore their conversations were not privileged.

Hannity just confirmed that to be true, at least with respect to himself. That certainly undermined the credibility of Cohen and perhaps explains why Cohen wanted to keep their relationship confidential.

But even if an attorney-client relationship between Cohen and Hannity did actually exist, it is the client, not the attorney, who controls the disclosure of communication. Even if Cohen wanted to disclose the discussions, he would only be allowed to do so if Hannity agreed to it.

But in this case, Hannity isn't asserting the privilege, so Cohen lacks any basis not to disclose the information or to prevent the government from looking at any communications between himself and Hannity.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34622

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds269748
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Madison138236
Jones117349
Harrison104014
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Lauderdale94281
Forrest93943
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Leake61320
Lee58621
Holmes57341
Oktibbeha56828
Wayne55416
Warren55320
Yazoo5436
Grenada5357
Lowndes52613
Leflore52256
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Pike47020
Sunflower4528
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Monroe43635
Covington4195
Panola3996
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Attala37524
Simpson3733
Newton35710
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Tate32313
Marion31312
Claiborne29310
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Winston28711
Pearl River27632
Noxubee2758
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Clay25511
Union23811
Smith23412
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Clarke21425
Lawrence1992
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Kemper18014
Carroll17311
Tallahatchie1664
Humphreys15910
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Calhoun1475
Tippah14411
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Webster12811
Tunica1193
Jefferson1173
Jefferson Davis1164
Prentiss1123
Greene10810
Amite1063
George1023
Wilkinson959
Tishomingo921
Quitman891
Alcorn852
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin492
Benton420
Sharkey420
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
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Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
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Clay742
Coosa621
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