During Monday night’s edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity defended his failure to disclose his attorney-client relationship with Michael Cohen, even as he vociferously defended President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, whose law office was raided last week. Cohen’s files presumably include communications with Hannity that he is now seeking to keep under wraps.
Hannity made his case in response to Alan Dershowitz, who interrupted a panel discussed devoted to trashing James Comey to confront Hannity about the Cohen controversy.
“First of all, Sean, I want to say that 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 had asked him for advice or whatever. But I think it would have been much, much better had you disclosed that relationship.”
Hannity wasn’t willing to give an inch.
“Do you understand the nature of it, professor? It was minimal,” Hannity said.
Dershowitz pushed back, telling Hannity that “you should have said that, and that would have been fair to say, that it was minimal.”
“I have the right to privacy,” Hannity replied, ignoring the ethical problems surrounding his conflict of interest. “I do.”
The real issue, however, is not “privacy,” but Hannity not disclosing a clear conflict of interest to his viewers. Hannity knew he had a personal stake in the FBI’s investigation of his attorney, and yet he used his TV and radio platforms to compare the raid to the tactics of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany.
Cohen disclosed that Hannity is a client in an effort to prevent investigators from looking at records pertaining to the work he did for him. While Cohen has been in the news for hush payments he negotiated to women who said they had affairs with Trump and a top RNC official, Hannity claims the work Cohen did for him “focused almost exclusively on real estate.”
While Hannity now claims to have concerns about “privacy,” Fox News was recently sued by the family of slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich in part because Hannity pushed a conspiracy theory about Rich’s death on his show.
Hannity continued pushing Seth Rich conspiracy theories even after Fox News retracted an investigative piece falsely claiming there was evidence linking Rich with WikiLeaks, which published emails hacked from the DNC. Hannity pushed the conspiracy in hopes of discrediting the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia hackers stole the emails.