- Fox News opinion host Sean Hannity was identified as one of Michael Cohen’s clients on Monday.
- Cohen’s attorneys unsuccessfully fought against the public disclosure.
- That’s because an attorney representing several major news outlets including The New York Times and CNN argued that it was in the public’s interest that the name be publicly disclosed.
- The judge agreed.
The revelation that Fox News opinion host Sean Hannity is one of Michael Cohen’s clients was arguably the biggest bombshell to emerge from Cohen’s court hearing in New York on Monday.
But Hannity’s name could have been swept under the rug, had it not been for Robert Balin, an attorney for five news organizations, including the Associated Press. Balin, who is reportedly with law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, attended the hearing to represent the news media’s interests.
Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, is under criminal investigation regarding his business dealings. During the proceedings on Monday, Cohen’s attorney’s attempted to prevent the disclosure of Cohen’s ties to a “publicly prominent individual” who had asked for privacy and asked not to be named.
US District Court Judge Kimba Wood was reportedly prepared to allow Cohen’s attorneys to reveal the name under seal, making it so that the court would learn the name of Cohen’s mystery client, without revealing the name publicly.
Balin objected and argued there was an “intense public interest in the issues that are before this court,” according to Bloomberg News.
Judge Wood agreed with Balin’s assessment: “I understand he doesn’t want his name out there, but that’s not enough under the law,” Wood said after listening to Balin.
Once Hannity’s name was revealed, gasps were heard throughout the room, according to Business Insider reporter Sonam Sheth.
Hannity has since distanced himself from Cohen in a series of tweets.
“Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter,” Hannity wrote on Twitter. “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.”