Fox's Sean Hannity revealed as mystery client of Trump's personal lawyer

US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen exits a hotel in New York City, U.S., April 11, 2018. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 17, 2018, 09.27 AM (IST)

US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer was forced on Monday to reveal in a New York federal court that Fox News personality Sean Hannity, one of Trump's most ardent defenders, was also on his client list.

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.

Michael Cohen, Trump's fiercely loyal and pugnacious lawyer, disclosed Hannity's name through one of his own lawyers at the order of the judge. Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress who says she had a sexual encounter with Trump, watched from the public gallery.

Hannity, 56, said on Monday that he had never paid for Cohen's services or been represented by him, but had sought confidential legal advice from him. The conservative host often uses his weeknight broadcast on Fox News to defend the president against what he sees as biased attacks by the media. Sometimes Trump praises Hannity in return.

Before the name was revealed, Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, argued that the mystery client was a “prominent person” who wanted to keep his identity a secret because he would be “embarrassed” to be identified as having sought Cohen’s counsel.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was another. As she arrived at the courthouse dressed in a lavender suit, photographers knocked over barricades as they scrambled to get pictures.

Daniels sat with her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who told reporters they were there to help ensure protection for the integrity of the seized documents, some of which they believe pertain to the Daniels agreement.

Cohen, dressed in a dark suit, at times looked tense, folding and clasping his hands in front of him.