Michael Cohen lists Sean Hannity as a client, Hannity says Cohen 'never represented me' to a third party - iMediaEthics
Menu

Home » Conflict of Interest»

Sean Hannity on his Fox News program last week after the raid on Michael Cohen's office (Credit: Fox News/screenshot)

Sean Hannity is a client of Michael Cohen, the personal attorney to Pres. Donald Trump who is currently under investigation, Cohen’s attorneys revealed in court this afternoon. Cohen’s attorneys wanted to keep Hannity’s name private because he would be “embarrassed,” they said, but the judge ordered he be named, the New York Times reported. “Until now, Hannity had not disclosed that he had a relationship with Cohen during his radio show or television program,” NBC News reported.

Last week, after the raid on Cohen’s office, before Hannity’s relationship as a client was disclosed, Hannity said on his Fox News program that Special Counsel “Robert Mueller has now officially gone rogue and declared war against the president.” Hannity said, “We now have in this country what is a runaway investigation, it’s spinning out of control, it’s led by Mueller and his merry band of Trump-hating deep state sycophants. that’s just a fact.” The headline on the Fox News Insider report on Hannity’s segment reads: “Mueller Has Gone ‘Rogue’: Hannity Says Probe ‘Off the Rails’ After Cohen Raid.”

In his April 9 radio program, Hannity commented that the raid of Cohen “opens up an area where it seems that there’s no limit at all into the fishing expedition that Mueller is now engaged in and if he has access to everything that his personal attorney has I can only imagine where that’s going to lead.” Talking Points Memo collected a series of other instances in which Hannity has discussed Cohen on air; in one interview, Hannity called Cohen “one of my better friends in life,” but like NBC News, Talking Points Memo said it couldn’t find any time when Hannity said Cohen was his attorney.

iMediaEthics has written to Fox News to  confirm the lack of disclosure, to ask if it was aware of Hannity’s relationship with Cohen and if any statements would be made on air to address the lack of disclosure.

A Fox News spokesperson only sent iMediaEthics the following statement from Hannity:

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

iMediaEthics has listed Hannity’s various explanations below to flag (in bold) differences.

After the announcement, Hannity said on his radio show, according to CNN, that

“I’ve known Michael a long, long time. Let me be very clear to the media. Michael never represented me in any matter. I never retained him in the traditional sense as retaining a lawyer. I never received an invoice from Michael. I never paid legal fees to Michael.

“But I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective. And I assume that those conversations were attorney-client confidential.

NBC reported that Hannity added on his show he “might have handed him 10 bucks” and “We definitely had attorney client privilege because I asked him for that but, you know, he never sent me a bill or an invoice or did I actually officially retain him.”

Hannity also tweeted, “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.”

“In response to some wild speculation, let me make clear that I did not ask Michael Cohen to bring this proceeding on my behalf, I have no personal interest in this proceeding, and, in fact, asked that my de minimis discussions with Michael Cohen,” he continued, “which dealt almost exclusively about real estate, not be made a part of this proceeding.”

Slate posted a video of the Fox News’ on air reporting during the news of Hannity’s relationship with Cohen. Fox News’ Shep Smith called the Hannity-Cohen news “the elephant in the room.” Smith said Hannity’s publicist said Hannity and Cohen had a long friendship and that “he never denied that he was his lawyer, that he did some legal work for him along the way.”

 

UPDATE: 4/16/2018 10:21 PM EST: A Fox News spokesperson provided iMediaEthics with Hannity’s comments on his Fox News program tonight in which he claimed in part, “My discussions with Michael Cohen never rose to any level that I needed to tell anyone that I was asking him questions and to be absolutely clear, they never involved any matter, any – sorry to disappoint so many – matter between me, a third party, a third group – at all. My question exclusively almost focused on real estate.” He added that he didn’t ask Cohen to “bring this proceeding on my behalf.”

UPDATE: 4/17/2018 3:05 PM EST A Fox News spokesperson sent iMediaEthics the following statement: “While FOX News was unaware of Sean Hannity’s informal relationship with Michael Cohen and was surprised by the announcement in court yesterday, we have reviewed the matter and spoken to Sean and he continues to have our full support.”

 UPDATED: 4/16/2018 5:07 PM EST With more information

UPDATED: 4/16/2018 5:27 PM EST With more information

UPDATED: 4/17/2018 9:22 PM

Submit a tip / Report a problem

Michael Cohen lists Sean Hannity as a client, Hannity says Cohen ‘never represented me’ to a third party

Share this article:

Comments Terms and Conditions

  • We reserve the right to edit/delete comments which harass, libel, use coarse language and profanity.
  • We moderate comments especially when there is conflict or negativity among commenters.
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *