If Sean Hannity was smart he'd have taken one for the team. I'm not saying he should have (honesty indeed is always the best policy, especially in court and on TV news), but just that if the he was really the team player I'm sure he likes to consider himself, then falling on his sword would have saved a lot of headaches for a whole lot of people, including Trump. That's because the entire point behind the question of who are Michael Cohen's clients is to determine if he actually is functioning as a lawyer, and if not then he can't claim attorney-client privilege for the material seized from his office, home and hotel. And so, if he wasn't actually an attorney for Sean Hannity, then that leaves him with only two supposed-clients. One of those is Elliott Broidy, the RNC co-chair for whom Cohen only acted (as far as we know) to facilitate a hush money payoff, hardly a job necessary for a lawyer. You can get any high or low-level thug to carry that out. Which leaves only Trump. That's not much of a law practice. Mind you, it could be a full-time job for a lawyer, handling all the fraud lawsuits. Though Cohen didn't handle those.
By the way, to be clear, it's not critical to the government to show that Cohen wasn't acting as a lawyer for the evidence to be seized. Even an actual lawyer can't hide behind attorney-client privilege if he or she is engaged in criminal activity with the client. And the federal agents had enough reasonable proof of that to convince a judge to sign off on the raid.
Honestly, I have zero idea of Michael Cohen was acting as a lawyer for Sean Hannity. I do know that if he wasn't then Cohen's own lawyer is in a mess o' trouble for claiming it in open court. Judges -- and the legal system -- don't like that. I also know that even if Cohen wasn't acting as Hannity's attorney there's something in their dealings that someone (whether Hannity or Cohen) doesn't want to see the light of day. Otherwise, why on earth claim attorney-client privilege and argue in court for 20 minutes for it, except to keep it protected? The bottom line in all this is that someone is lying.
The thing is, there's one question in all this (well, okay, I'm sure there are a lot more questions than just "one") that I haven't heard asked of Hannity. And that's, "Are you telling us that you don't have your own attorney that you couldn't have called to ask a very minor question about 'real estate' to???" Because that's not believable for a second. And the alternative is that his answer would be, "Oh, sure I have an attorney, but I didn't want to bother him with a really minor 'real estate' question and waste his time, and instead just figured I'd ask the personal lawyer for the president of the United States."
For all this, the most amusing thing has been to see Sean Hannity squealing like a stuck pig and making all manner of claims about the unfair press. The proper response, of course, is much simpler. It's "I was not a client of Michael Cohen's and only asked him a simple question about 'real estate,' but I should have disclosed even that to remove even the slightest hint of impropriety, and I'm sorry."
But instead, he's whining about "the press" and fairness, a concept that never seems to have concerned him before. And again, claiming he wasn't a client -- if true -- hurts Trump, Michael Cohen, and Cohen's lawyer, so this is a no-win situation all around. Unless Hannity took one for the team. After all, it's not like his employers would have likely cared.
That's because the funniest response of all has been from "Fox News" whose comment after looking into all this was basically, "Yes, Sean was wrong, but that's okay, we don't mind. Carry on" And why should they? Only an actual news organization would care about journalistic ethics...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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