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Michael Cohen surprises with third client announcement: Sean Hannity

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney, didn't want to share the identity of his third client. There was a gasp in the room when we learned it's Sean Hannity.
In this March 4, 2016, file photo, Sean Hannity of Fox News arrives in National Harbor, Md.
In this March 4, 2016, file photo, Sean Hannity of Fox News arrives in National Harbor, Md.

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's personal attorney, has suddenly found himself in a difficult legal position.  Last week, FBI agents raided his office and hotel room; a variety of Cohen's materials are now in the hands of federal law enforcement; and by some accounts, the New York attorney is currently under a criminal investigation.

It's against this backdrop that Cohen has said he only has three clients. One is the president, whom Cohen has tried to help by, among other things, paying hush money to a former Trump mistress. One is Elliott Broidy, the former deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, whom Cohen helped when Broidy wanted to pay off a former Playboy playmate mistress he impregnated.

The third is someone Cohen did not want to identify. Today in court, he wasn't given a choice.

Sean Hannity, the Fox News host who has been waging war on the air against special counsel Robert Mueller and is an outspoken advocate for President Donald Trump, was revealed Monday as one of only three clients that Michael Cohen, the president's personal attorney, had during 2017 and 2018.

By some accounts, "a gasp was heard in the courtroom" when Cohen's lawyer disclosed Hannity's name.

The Fox News personality soon after confirmed receiving legal guidance Cohen, though Hannity tried to emphasize a degree of informality in the arrangement.

Hannity, of course, has been a prominent voice in conservative media condemning the FBI's raid on Cohen's office, though he failed to disclose that he's one of Cohen's three clients.

As for why, exactly, Cohen has represented Hannity, we do not yet know. That said, the conservative host wrote on Twitter this afternoon, "Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective."

Hannity added, "I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third-party."

The Fox News anchor did not say this explicitly, but one possible explanation for emphasizing this angle about the absence of a third party is the lawyer's other two clients: Cohen may have helped Trump and Broidy with making payments to alleged mistresses, but that's apparently not the kind of work Cohen did for him.