Fox News Legal Analyst: Hannity ‘Can’t Have It Both Ways’ on Michael Cohen
Judge Andrew Napolitano shot down the notion that Hannity can both claim not to be Cohen’s client and retain attorney-client privilege.
It didn’t seem as though Outnumbered Overtime host Harris Faulkner particularly wanted to talk about Sean Hannity during her discussion with Fox News’ senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano about Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen on Tuesday afternoon, but that’s what happened.
“Why did we need to know the names of the other clients?” Faulkner asked Napolitano, who explained that Cohen’s lawyer was trying to prove to the court in a hearing on Monday that he had clients besides President Trump. This, of course, led to the “dramatic reveal” that his previously unnamed third client was Hannity.
When Faulkner pointed out that Hannity claims he has never been “represented” by Cohen but still thinks he’s entitled to “attorney-client privilege,” Napolitano offered up some rare criticism of his longtime colleague.
“I love him. I’ve worked with him for 20 years. He can’t have it both ways,” Napolitano said. “If he was a client, then his confidential communications to Mr. Cohen are privileged. If Mr. Cohen was never his lawyer, then nothing that he said to Mr. Cohen is privileged.”
On his radio show Monday, Hannity admitted that he “might have handed” Cohen $10 and said something like, “I definitely want your attorney-client privilege on this.” But Napolitano was quick to bust the “myth” that you can hand someone any legal tender and establish attorney-client privilege—as Walter White famously did with Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad.
“The attorney-client privilege requires a formal relationship reduced to writing for a specific legal purpose,” he said.
“So anything that is there regarding Sean Hannity can be revealed?” Faulker asked.
“In my view, yes,” Napolitano replied.
His comments marked at least the second time Hannity’s actions have been denounced on Fox News’ air over the past two days. On Monday night, Trump-supporting lawyer Alan Dershowitz told Hannity to his face that he should have disclosed his relationship with Cohen. “You could’ve said just that you asked him for advice or whatever, but I think it would’ve been much, much better if you had disclosed it,” Dershowitz told the host.
Earlier in the day, Fox News released its first official statement about the relationship between Hannity and Cohen. A representative from the network said it was “unaware” of the situation and “surprised” by the revelation, but also that Hannity has Fox’s “full support.”