On Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, revealed his third mystery client in court: none other than Fox News host Sean Hannity. As Hannity’s radio show began at 3 p.m., the host was nowhere to be heard.
Hannity eventually insisted that “Michael never represented me in any matter, I never retained him in any traditional sense in retaining a lawyer.” It took him more than 45 minutes to address this.
“The Sean Hannity radio show just started. There’s SILENCE. DEAD. AIR,” Think Progress editor Zack Ford tweeted.
The Sean Hannity radio show just started. There's SILENCE.
— Zack Ford (@ZackFord) April 16, 2018
The dead air gave way to music, recordings of former FBI Director James Comey’s ABC News interview, and show promos.
The Sean Hannity Radio Show so far:
Background rock music.
Clip of Trump/Hannity show promo.
Another Hannity show promo.
Clip of Comey interview.
So far, Hannity has not yet spoken.
— Zack Ford (@ZackFord) April 16, 2018
Others also noted the silence. Think Progress founder Judd Legum noted that it was a “train wreck.”
UPDATE: Hannity's radio show, scheduled to start at 3PM is a train wreck.
First 10 mins was music and clips of the Comey interview.
Then Hannity came on and said they'd continue to play the Comey interview while he though about whether to say something https://t.co/2ETkMLmmAs
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) April 16, 2018
New York Magazine‘s Yashar Ali noted that Hannity said, “I’m going to have to decide if I’m going to put out a statement here.”
Sean Hannity just now on the radio "I'm going to have to decide if I'm going to put out a statement here."
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) April 16, 2018
He gave a brief statement to The Wall Street Journal‘s Rebecca Ballhaus: “We have been friends a long time. I have sought legal advice from Michael.”
Sean Hannity’s response to being named Michael Cohen’s third client: "We have been friends a long time. I have sought legal advice from Michael."
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) April 16, 2018
Indeed, the Fox News host posted a photo of himself with Cohen back in 2015. Supporters have said that Hannity never kept his relationship with Trump’s lawyer a secret.
The Daily Mail‘s David Martosko reported that Hannity said he would delay addressing the Cohen issue, in order to “keep the media listening because they might learn something.”
In a particularly embarrassing moment, Hannity said, “I am on air. I wish everybody would stop calling me.”
The Fox News host, exasperated by many calls, declared, “Everybody’s going insane here.” He insisted that Cohen “never represented me in any matter, I never retained him in any traditional sense in retaining a lawyer.”
“I never paid any legal fees to Michael,” he stated, but he did admit asking for “his input and perspective.” Even so, never did he hire Cohen for “a matter between me and another third party.”
“I have eight attorneys I use for varying things in my life,” and Cohen is just one of them, Hannity said.
Cohen, Trump’s personal and fiercely loyal lawyer, initially refused to identify Hannity, but Judge Kimba Wood rejected his effort to keep the Fox News host unknown.
“I understand if he doesn’t want his name out there, but that’s not enough under the law,” Wood said, before ordering a lawyer for Cohen to disclose the name, Reuters reported.
Cohen’s court appearance took place one week after the FBI raided his home, finding, among other documents, recordings of conversations between the Trump lawyer and a lawyer representing Stephanie Clifford, a porn star better known by her stage name “Stormy Daniels.”
Cohen has disclosed his work for Trump, including a $130,000 payment he made to Clifford, who claimed the payment was made to keep her silence after an affair with Trump.
Trump’s personal lawyer also helped negotiate a $1.6 million payment to a former Playboy model who claimed she became involved with RNC deputy finance chairman Elliott Broidy, who reportedly impregnated her and then asked her to have an abortion.
For his part, Hannity faced a sex scandal last April, when conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel alleged that the Fox News host attempted to have sex with her after a book signing. Schlussel claimed that Hannity never again invited her to his show after she turned him down for sex. In response, the Fox News host himself filed a lawsuit.
No concrete link has yet been discovered between Cohen and the case between Hannity and Schlussel.