Trump lawyer Michael Cohen expected at court hearing over searches

Sergio Conner
April 16, 2018

At the end of the first segment, and then the beginning of the second segment, of his show on Monday, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith very briefly addressed what he termed "the elephant in the room - the bombshell revelation that Sean Hannity is the mysterious third client of President Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen". Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is engaged in a legal battle with Cohen over a $130,000 agreement for her to keep quiet about a 2006 sexual encounter she says she had with Trump.

Michael Cohen outside court in NY on April 16.

As well as Hannity, Cohen has also represented Trump and former Republican National Committee deputy finance chair Elliott Broidy.

Mr Hannity has been one of the president's most vocal on-air defenders and a fierce critic of the investigation into Mr Trump, which led to the raid on Mr Cohen's offices.

"I understand he doesn't want his name out there, but that isn't the law", Judge Kimba Wood said, after she had listened to both sides arguing about whether Mr Hannity's identity be revealed. We spoke with his publicist here at Fox News who says that he says they have been friends a long time. "I have sought legal advice from Michael", Hannity initially told a Wall Street Journal reporter.

A source familiar with the raids said last week that the information Federal Bureau of Investigation agents were seeking included information about payments to Daniels.

As the hearing got underway, Mr Cohen sat by his lawyers, dressed in a dark suit, looking tense and clasping his hands on a table before him.

Also in the court was Ms Daniels.

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Mr Cohen was in court to argue for the return of files that were seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week, which he says are protected under attorney-client privilege. Cohen had argued that the documents seized were subject to attorney-client privilege, and the judge demanded that he list his clients so this claim could be evaluated.

Hendon proposed yet another level of protections, in which Cohen's lawyers, after finishing their initial review, would then be required to "identify to the president all seized materials that relate to him in any way and provide a copy of those materials to him and his counsel".

As part of the judge's effort to resolve such requests, she asked Cohen's lawyers to tell her Monday how many clients, and documents, might be involved in the material seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Cohen had told the court earlier he had at least 10 clients between 2017 and 2018, including the President, and the former GOP fundraiser Elliot Broidy who acknowledged paying $1.6 million to a Playboy model with whom he had an affair.

"It nearly goes without saying, unfortunately, that none of Mr. Cohen's clients want to be associated with the government raid on his home and law office, or want to be affiliated in any way with the proceedings here and the attendant media coverage".

The raids were based partly on a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russian Federation, according to court filings.

Trump has called Mueller's probe a "witch hunt" and denied any collusion.

The letter from Cohen's lawyer Todd Harrison filed Monday said agents seized "more than a dozen electronic devices and other items that include documents and data regarding topics and issues that have nothing to do with" the material sought in the search warrant.

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