The identity of Michael D. Cohen's mysterious third client was revealed Monday to be the Fox News host Sean Hannity.
The dramatic legal twist came to light as Cohen’s lawyers tried to delay prosecutors from sifting through records that the FBI seized in its surprise raid of his office and hotel earlier this month. The attorneys initially tried to keep Hannity’s name out of the proceedings on the grounds that he would be embarrassed. But that argument didn't convince Judge Kimba Wood.
“I understand he doesn’t want his name out there, but that’s not enough under the law,” said Wood, forcing Cohen’s attorneys to reveal the name of his client. It’s unclear what kinds of legal services Cohen provided Hannity.
The judge also rejected the defense's request to review the seized files before prosecutors.
Hannity, a loyal supporter of President Donald Trump, tried to distance himself from Cohen on his radio show Monday.
“Michael never represented me in any matter,” he said. “But I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions.” He did not elaborate on the nature of those matters.
Prior to Monday's revelation, Cohen had disclosed that he provided legal services for three clients in the past year.
One of them is Trump, who allegedly had an affair with the adult film actress Stormy Daniels in 2006. Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 to stay quiet about the sexual encounter as part of a non-disclosure agreement that Daniels is currently challenging in court.
Cohen’s other client is Elliot Broidy, a prominent GOP fundraiser who used Cohen to negotiate a $1.6 million payoff for a Playboy model he had impregnated. After news of that affair broke last week, Broidy was forced to resign as deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee.
Cohen also serves as a deputy finance chair at the RNC, but the political organization is so far not irked by the recent slew of negative press.
“We stand behind Michael Cohen,” the RNC spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told Cheddar’s J.D. Durkin hours before Cohen's hearing.
“We don’t weigh in to legal matters. He stands with us, he has been a great ally of this president, and he’s still at the RNC,” she said.
For full interview, click here.