Yesterday’s drama at the U.S. Federal Court in Manhattan unfolded beyond the wildest dreams of countless observers. One week earlier, federal agents executed multiple raids on Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime attorney, fixer and factotum. Granted unusually broad remit, FBI agents seized years of records of all kinds from Cohen’s home, office and hotel room—a development that seems to have terrified the Oval Office, based on President Donald Trump’s especially unhinged rage-tweets in response.
The Department of Justice quickly ascertained that when it came to his work for the Trump Organization, Cohen wasn’t much of a lawyer, rather a clean-up man for Trump’s missteps with women and the arranger of unsavory business deals with an assortment of dubious characters, many of them from the former Soviet Union. Cohen’s court appearance yesterday was guaranteed to be a barn-burner, given the Trump consigliere’s over-the-top media antics, to say nothing of the presence in court of Stormy Daniels, the adult actress and former Trump paramour who claims to have taken a $130,000 payment from Cohen to purchase—or at least rent—her silence for the 2016 election.
But Stormy, whose public telling of her tale sent Cohen down the road to perdition, turned out not to be yesterday’s big draw. Instead, it was Cohen himself and his suspiciously short client list. Trump was Client Number One, as everyone knew, while it recently emerged that Number Two was Elliott Broidy, a venture capitalist, Trump backer, and Republican macher whom Cohen assisted by arranging a $1.6 million hush-deal with a Playboy model who claimed Broidy had impregnated her. When this payoff came to light last week, Broidy resigned from his senior post with the Republican National Committee.
But who was Client Number Three? Cohen desperately did not want to reveal that, but when pressured by Judge Kimba Wood, his legal team disclosed that it was none other than Sean Hannity, the right-wing talker, Fox News stalwart and Trump superfan. A collective, audible gasp overtook the courtroom as this bombshell eclipsed even the presence of Stormy Daniels in a pink suit. Suddenly, Sean Hannity found himself right in the middle of the president’s legal drama. The Fox News star had taken his vociferous support for Donald Trump to the level of sharing his dodgy attorney.
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