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legal matters

Sean Hannity hired lawyers with ties to Trump last year

It's a small world, as proven by the network of lawyers apparently shared by President Trump and Fox News host Sean Hannity.

It came out in court on Monday that Hannity was the mysterious third client of Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen, but that's not their only connection (Hannity says Cohen "never represented" him in any matter and he "never retained him"). A cease-and-desist letter sent to the Tulsa radio station KFAQ on May 25, 2017, obtained by The Atlantic, is signed by two people identified as "Counsel for Sean Hannity" — Victoria Toensing and Jay Sekulow.

Sekulow is now a member of Trump's legal team, focusing on the response to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, but at the time he was not working for Trump. Toensing and her husband, Joseph diGenova — also identified on the cease-and-desist letter as being part of Hannity's counsel — were supposed to join Trump's legal team earlier this year, but "conflicts" prevented their hiring, Sekulow said in late March.

The letter was sent to KFAQ after a commentator named Debbie Schlussel, who accused Hannity of being "creepy" and asking her to go to his hotel room, appeared on one of the station's shows. Hannity called the allegations "100 percent false and a complete fabrication." Toensing told The Atlantic she was acting as his lawyer at the time, but wouldn't say if she still does legal work for him. "I've just learned in the press that anybody who is Sean Hannity's lawyer is going to be blasted," she said, adding, "I'm wondering what attorney-client privilege means to anybody."

All three of the lawyers have been guests on Hannity's show, and Fox News sent The Atlantic an example of Hannity saying on his show last May that Sekulow "had done legal work for me in the past." When asked for comment, Hannity said, "I don't have time for silly questions."