Fox News ‘Surprised’ by Hannity’s Ties to Trump’s Lawyer, Stands by Him Anyway

Hannity has been under fire since he was revealed as Michael Cohen’s third client

Last Updated: April 17, 2018 @ 12:02 PM

Fos News is backing Sean Hannity amidst the revelation that Donald Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, also provided legal counsel to the cable news network’s host. Though they’d also like to note they were “unaware” of the two’s “informal relationship.”

“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,” a spokesperson for Fox News said in a statement to TheWrap Tuesday.

Hannity insisted Monday that Cohen has never “represented” him after a judge ruling unveiled the fact that Hannity had been as one of Cohen’s clients in 2017.

“Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective,” said the Fox News host in a statement to TheWrap Monday.

“I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third party.”

At a federal court hearing in New York City on Monday, Cohen was forced to reveal that in addition to Trump he had also provided legal counsel to two other — previously undisclosed — individuals. One of them was Hannity and the other was former RNC finance chairman Elliott Broidy.

Cohen is facing mounting legal troubles after his home and offices were raided by the FBI last week. Reports at the time said the raid was personally approved by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The Hannity-Cohen-Trump nexus represents a previously undisclosed layer of connection between Trump and Hannity. The Fox News primetime host has become the most reliably pro-Trump voice on cable television. In a broadcast last week, Hannity blasted the FBI raid on Cohen and the special counsel — without revealing his legal relationship with Cohen.

Hannity faced some friendly fire on his own show Monday evening, with longtime Fox legal analyst Alan Dershowitz chiding him to his face about his Cohen connection.

“I really think that you should have disclosed your relationship with Cohen when you talked about him on this show,” said Dershowitz with the look of a man who just swallowed a grenade.

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

The public rebuke took Hannity by surprise, who attempted to short-circuit Dershowitz with a promise to address the matter later in his show.

“If you understand the nature of this, professor — I’m going to deal with this later in the show —  It was minimal, I put out a statement about it.”

“I have a right to privacy,” Hannity stammered as Dershowitz continued to explain the situation to him. “It was such a minor relationship.”

Dershowitz wasn’t the only one to criticize Hannity on the network yesterday. Earlier on “The Five,” co-host Juan Williams also zinged his colleague for not disclosing the relationship.

And, of course, late-night had a field day with the news on Monday. Especially Hannity’s new nemesis Jimmy Kimmel.

Jon Levine contributed to this story.