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Ex-Bush ethics lawyer: There's no such thing as 'fixer-client' privilege
A former top ethics lawyer for the George W. Bush administration slammed the efforts by President Trump and Fox News host Sean Hannity to protect their conversations with attorney Michael Cohen, saying there's "no such thing as fixer-client privilege."
Richard Painter said on MSNBC Tuesday that Cohen was acting as a "fixer" and not an attorney when he made payments to women, such as adult-film star Stormy Daniels, to stay quiet about alleged affairs with Trump.
"It certainly wasn't legal advice that's being rendered when an attorney pays $130,000 to a porn star to keep her mouth shut," Painter said. "There's no legal advice being rendered there at all."
The FBI raided Cohen's office, home and hotel room last week and reportedly sought information on payments made to women who have claimed affairs with Trump.
Painter, who is considering running for a Senate seat in Minnesota, also hit Hannity for criticizing the FBI raid on his Fox News show without disclosing his connection to Cohen.
"Sean Hannity, he's just made all the guests on his show look like fools because while he's supposedly covering this in a fair and balanced manner, he's getting legal advice and maybe some fixing from the same attorney," Painter said.
A court revealed Monday that Hannity was Cohen's third client.
Hannity distanced himself from Cohen in a statement, saying that Cohen never professionally represented him and that their conversations were largely about real estate.
Fox News stood by Hannity in a statement Tuesday, saying that the network was previously unaware of his connection to Cohen but that the host had its full support.