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Judge orders Trump lawyer Cohen to reveal secret client: Sean Hannity

Joseph Tanfani, Tribune Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer and hard-nosed fixer, Michael Cohen, lost an early round in federal court in Manhattan on Monday, as a judge ordered him to disclose the name of a client he had tried to keep secret: Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

The disclosure was the latest surprise in a highly unusual court case in which the president is fighting his own Justice Department.

Cohen, his lawyer disclosed, represents Hannity along with Trump and Elliot Broidy, the prominent Los Angeles-based Republican fundraiser. Earlier in the day, Cohen's lawyers said in a letter to District Judge Kimba Wood that he had only three clients, but they refused to divulge Hannity's name.

The lawyers did not say what work Cohen has performed for Hannity.

Cohen has arranged at least two hush-money payments to women who claimed they had sexual affairs with Trump. One was $130,000 to Stormy Daniels, the porn actress, and she attended the crowded court hearing.

For Broidy, Cohen helped broker a $1.6 million payment to a former Playboy model with whom he had a sexual relationship. The woman became pregnant and subsequently had an abortion, Broidy said in a statement last week after The Wall Street Journal first reported Cohen's role.

Cohen's lawyer argued to keep the third client's name confidential, but Wood dismissed his pleas to write it down in a sealed note. She ordered him to say it aloud.

"I rule it must be disclosed now," she said.

The disclosures came at a hearing at which Cohen is trying to stop federal investigators from sifting through a trove of tax records, business documents, emails and other material that FBI agents seized in court-approved searches of his apartment, hotel room, office and safe deposit box last week.

Cohen's lawyers argued that the evidence should be protected by attorney-client privilege.

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