It was revealed on Tuesday that Sean Hannity is closely associated with President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen. In fact, it appears that Hannity is actually a client of Cohen, and had requested until this time to not have this information revealed to the public.
Fox News has officially responded to the situation. They want the public to know that they are standing behind their longstanding employee, while at the same time expressing surprise about the announcement.
According to the network, "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."
CNN writes that this announcement by Fox News put an end to questions about whether the network was aware of Hannity and Cohen's legal relationship. But they also add that it will likely trigger an entirely new set of questions regarding whether Hannity should be held accountable for this lack of transparency since he is a nationally recognized news commentator and talk-show host.
Hannity is Fox's most popular prime-time star and one of President Trump's fiercest defenders on national television and radio. Cohen is Trump's personal lawyer whose office and residence was recently raided by the FBI.
Critics claim that there is a clear conflict of interest in this situation and that Hannity — if he wishes to be seen as a fair and balanced commentator on Trump's presidency and the FBI raid of Cohen's office — should have disclosed these close personal and legal ties.
Nevertheless, Hannity has responded to the situation, claiming that "Cohen never represented me in any legal matter." Hannity claimed that the two men chatted occasionally, but mostly focused on real estate.
"I never retained his services, I never received an invoice. I never paid Michael Cohen for legal fees," said Hannity.
Despite Hannity's objection, Cohen's lawyer did identify Hannity as a client in federal court. And earlier in the day, Hannity said that he "might have handed him ten bucks" and told Cohen that he wanted "attorney-client privilege" between the two. And the fact that the legal relationship between the two was concealed also raises alarm.
Defenders of Hannity have claimed that the entire incident is overblown. The National Review, while publishing several articles critical of Hannity, also published earlier today "Putting Hannity's Michael Cohen Problem in Perspective."
The National Review claimed that Hannity "is demonstrating pretty awful journalism ethics by discussing his lawyer on his national cable news show," but also point out that the connection between the two is (if Hannity is telling the truth) very removed and not at all personal.
"It's easy to understand the host's surprise that Cohen is describing him as a client in court," claims the National Review.
In recent news, an American radio star died at age 84 after a lifelong career.