The attorney representing adult film star Stormy Daniels is expanding his predictions of widespread fallout within the orbit of Michael Cohen, a lawyer with a long personal history with President Donald Trump.
Michael Avenatti has been on a media blitz for more than a month on behalf of his client, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
Cohen has admitted paying the woman $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election in exchange for her remaining silent about claims of a prior sexual relationship with Trump. That move has since led to significant speculation — led in large part by Avenatti — about the propriety of that payment.
The lawyer appeared on HBO’s “Real Time” Friday evening for an interview with host Bill Maher. Building on previous predictions about the impact of Cohen’s behavior, he suggested Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity will be among those ensnared in the scandal.
Hannity was outed as Cohen’s client this week following an attempt to prevent his name from being released publicly, as reported by CNN.
Avenatti suggested that the revelations forecast likely implications for the conservative television and radio host.
“Here’s what I think: I think that when the documents actually come out, and there are documents — there’s no question in my mind, there are documents with Sean Hannity’s name on them — the extent of that relationship, I think, will be very embarrassing to Sean Hannity,” he said.
Hannity himself was apparently worried that his association with Cohen would be embarrassing.
Following an FBI raid on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room earlier this month, the lawyer’s attorneys argued that Hannity’s name should not be public on the grounds that it is “likely to be embarrassing or detrimental to the client.”
Cohen’s counsel included Trump’s name, along with Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser for whom the lawyer brokered a seven-figure payout to a Playboy model, in a letter presented to the court.
As CNBC reported, a third client was confirmed to be Hannity after a judge ordered the name revealed.
Hannity reacted by denying on radio, television and social media that he ever retained Cohen to represent him in a legal matter.
Hannity did make an apparent appeal for attorney-client privilege, however, arguing the dubious legal theory that by handing Cohen a nominal amount of cash during a legal conversation he secured the lawyer’s confidentiality.
“I may have handed him $10 once,” Hannity said. “I requested attorney-client privilege with him, and assumed our conversations would be confidential, but they have never involved any matter with him and any third party.”
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