Fox News says it was blindsided by Hannity's surprise relationship with Michael Cohen -- but he has its 'full support'

Theo Wargo/Getty ImagesSean Hannity.
  • Fox News on Tuesday issued a statement on its host Sean Hannity’s relationship with Michael Cohen.
  • The network said it was “surprised” by the information.
  • But it said Hannity “continues to have our full support.”

Fox News on Tuesday said it was “surprised” to find out about its host Sean Hannity’s relationship with Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, but added that it conducted a review and stood by its primetime star.

“While Fox News was unaware of Sean Hannity’s informal relationship with Michael Cohen and was surprised by the announcement in court yesterday, we have reviewed the matter and spoken to Sean and he continues to have our full support,”the network said in a statement.

FBI agents raided Cohen’s New York office and hotel room last week as part of a criminal investigation by the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.

At the request of a federal judge on Monday, Cohen’s attorneys disclosed in court that Hannity was the third client of Cohen’s from the past year.

The attorneys previously said in a filing that Cohen had represented three clients in the past year, including Trump and Elliott Broidy, a Republican fundraiser. They argued that the third client should remain anonymous and said the client did not allow them to disclose that they had used Cohen’s services.

It was not immediately clear what legal work Cohen provided Hannity. Hannity said in a tweet on Monday that it was “almost exclusively about real estate.”

Cohen arranged a $US130,000 payment to the porn star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election to ensure her silence about an alleged affair she says she had with Trump in 2006. Cohen also facilitated a $US1.6 million payment to a former Playboy model who said Broidy got her pregnant, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.

In his Monday radio show, Hannity said he had used eight attorneys in his life and insisted he “never retained” Cohen “in the traditional sense.”

“Michael never represented me in any matter,” Hannity said, adding: “I never received an invoice from Michael. I never paid legal fees to Michael.”

But Hannity said he asked Cohen “brief” legal questions, adding that may have handed Cohen $US10 and said, “I want privilege to cover me about this conversation.”

Hannity said the media was going “nuts” about the story because of the idea that Cohen was involved in “a big settlement case for Hannity.”

During Hannity’s Fox News show on Monday night, Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, told Hannity he should have come clean about getting advice from Cohen.

“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 asked him for advice or whatever, but I think it would have been much, much better had you disclosed that.”

Hannity replied that his relationship with Cohen was “minimal.”

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