(National Review) -- In yesterday’s column, I contended that it was outrageous for federal district judge Kimba Wood to direct that talk-radio and Fox News host Sean Hannity be publicly identified as Michael Cohen’s third client. Cohen, whose law practice is, shall we say, less than thriving, is under criminal investigation by the FBI and federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York (SDNY). He claims only three clients. The other two, President Trump and GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy, acknowledge retaining Cohen. Hannity denies ever having had a formal attorney-client relationship with him.
The court’s order that Hannity’s name be disclosed in open court violated longstanding, judicially endorsed standards against identifying uncharged persons in legal proceedings attendant to criminal investigations.
Forget about evidence of wrongdoing. There is not even a suggestion that Hannity is involved in any crimes. He is a longtime friend of Cohen’s. He says they’ve had some informal legal discussions about such matters as real estate — and as any lawyer will tell you, informal discussions with non-lawyer friends are common. Hannity insists, however, that he has never retained Cohen to represent him in any legal matter, and has never paid him or received an invoice from him. There is no public evidence to contradict this, and no suggestion that Cohen has previously represented himself as Hannity’s attorney.
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