Ainsley Earhardt, the in-between host of Fox & Friends, flubbed up the facts regarding Michael Cohen‘s relationship with former deep-cover client Sean Hannity on the flagship program Tuesday morning.
During a segment that began with Hannity’s almost-denial, Earhardt said:
Michael Cohen wasn’t saying that Sean Hannity was his client, right. He was just asked by the judge who did you give legal advice to. They could just be friends, giving each other legal advice.
The Hannity reference in the April 16 letter from Cohen and his attorneys reads, “The third legal client directed Mr. Cohen to [sic] not to reveal the identity publicly.” (Read the full letter here.)
In court on Monday, Cohen’s attorneys repeatedly made reference to “the client,” “Mr. Cohen’s client,” and various permutations thereof. For example, Cohen’s attorneys referred to Sean Hannity in the context of:
(1) Explaining “this client” is a “publicly prominent individual”; (2) arguing that no one would want to be “associated with Michael Cohen as a client” at present because of the bad publicity; (3) noting that “the client contacted” Cohen’s team over the weekend and asked not to be identified; (4) offering to place “the client’s name in an envelope” and provide it to the judge under seal; (5) that if the ongoing discovery process was being compelled by subpoena–as opposed to a warrant–then “the client’s name” would have never come up; (6) arguing that if “the client’s name” were revealed, people might stop hiring attorneys; (7) saying “we’re only trying to protect one client but the government says we’re being over-broad,” and (8) admitting, “the client’s name is Sean Hannity.”
There were likely other instances as well, but suffice to say, Cohen, by way of his attorneys, was very clear about the attorney-client relationship between Hannity and Cohen. Not least of all because Cohen’s attorneys spent so much time on Monday arguing that Hannity’s name was protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Earhardt continued on. She said:
[Cohen] was just asked by the judge ‘Who did you give legal advice to?’ They could just be friends–he was giving Sean legal advice, right?
Again, no. That’s not what the judge asked or said.
On numerous occasions, Ronald Reagan-appointed Judge Kimba Wood made reference to “the client’s name,” “Mr. Cohen’s client,” and so on. A few non-exhaustive examples from Judge Wood on this:
(1) Noting that “Mr. Cohen cannot withhold the client’s name” in perpetuity; (2) accepting an offer to reveal “the client’s name” in a sealed envelope but ruling that prosecutors also get that information; (3) discussing at length the Vingelli standard for applying the attorney-client privilege to a client’s name; (4) nothing outright, “Mr. Harrison has not met the standard for the exception to client identity,” after the Vingelli discussion; (5) patiently explaining to Cohen’s attorneys that violations of ethical rules related to the attorney-client privilege are acceptable if a court demands them; (6) allowing prosecutor Thomas McKay to repeatedly use the word “client” in reference to Hannity without being once reproved; (7) the fact Judge Wood actually never asked that question; and (8) that all of this (and more) occurred within the context of a discussion regarding the attorney-client privilege.
Earhardt appears to have confused what happened in a New York court room with what Sean Hannity is saying.
Law&Crime reached out to Fox News for comment, but no response was forthcoming at the time of publication.
[image via screengrab/Fox News]