Politics: Fox News says it was blindsided by Hannity’s surprise relationship with Michael Cohen — but he has their ‘full support’

Sean Hannity

Fox News said it was "surprised" to find out about the relationship between Hannity and Cohen, but added that it conducted a review and stands by its host.

  • Fox News issued a statement on Sean Hannity's relationship with Michael Cohen.
  • The network said it was "surprised" by the information.
  • But it said Hannity "continues to have our full support."

Fox News on Tuesday said it was "surprised" to find out about the relationship between the host Sean Hannity and President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen, but said it conducted a review and stands by its primetime star.

"While FOX News was unaware of Sean Hannity's informal relationship with Michael Cohen and was surprised by the announcement in court yesterday, we have reviewed the matter and spoken to Sean and he continues to have our full support," the network said in a statement.

Fox's response came after Cohen's attorneys revealed in federal court on Monday that Hannity was a mystery, third client of Cohen's from the past year. A federal judge ordered the release of the name.

Cohen's attorneys said in a filing that the lawyer had represented three clients in the past year, including Trump and Elliott Broidy, a Republican fundraiser. The attorneys argued that the third client's name should remain anonymous.

In their letter to US District Judge Kimba Wood, Cohen's attorneys, Todd Harrison and Stephen Ryan, wrote that the third client did not allow them to disclose that they had used Cohen's services. But Wood ruled the third client be disclosed publicly.

It was not immediately clear what legal work Cohen provided Hannity. In a tweet, Hannity said it was "almost exclusively about real estate."

Cohen arranged a $130,000 payment to the porn star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election to ensure her silence about an affair she says she had with Trump in 2006. Cohen also facilitated a $1.6 million payment to a former Playboy model who said Broidy got her pregnant, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.

During his Monday radio show, Hannity said he had used eight attorneys in his life and insisted he "never retained" Cohen "in the traditional sense."

"Michael never represented me in any matter," Hannity said, adding: "I never received an invoice from Michael. I never paid legal fees to Michael."

But Hannity said he asked Cohen "brief" legal questions, adding that may have handed Cohen $10 and said, "I want privilege to cover me about this conversation."

Hannity said the media was going "nuts" about the story because of the idea that Cohen was involved in "a big settlement case for Hannity."

During Hannity's Monday night Fox News show, legal expert and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told Hannity he should have come clean about getting advice from Cohen.

"I really think that you should have disclosed your relationship with Cohen when you talked about him on this show," Dershowitz said. "You could have said just that you asked him for advice or whatever, but I think it would have been much much better had you disclosed that."

Hannity interjected that his relationship with Cohen was "minimal."

Hannity had been highly critical of the Cohen investigation prior to the revelation.

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