Michael Cohen’s Monday afternoon hearing at Manhattan’s Daniel Patrick Moynihan federal courthouse drew much heavier crowds than his initial hearing last week thanks to two special guests: Cohen himself and adult film star Stormy Daniels.
The first glimpse of a stern-looking Cohen came at around 1:30 p.m. as he moved through the lobby, flanked by his attorneys, past a long line of reporters and interested members of the public waiting to ascend to the courtroom on the 21st floor.
Daniels didn’t arrive until later. As the audience took their seats and the hands of the clock on the courtroom’s back wall crept towards 2 p.m., reporters kept turning around in their seats to see if she would turn up as her lawyer Michael Avenatti had promised she would. At around 1:59 p.m., the door peeked open and a guard could be seen telling Avenatti, “We’re full.” A pair of sky-high heels were visible through the crack.
After a few moments of muttered negotiations, the security team shifted a reporter to a different seat and in walked Avenatti and Daniels. Though Cohen didn’t turn around, every other eye in the room was on the pair as they took their seats in the corner. One of the in-house court reporters seated in the jury box stood up to get a better look, and two of the female court sketch artists donned what looked like opera glasses to get a clearer view of their subject.
The next dramatic moment came when Sean Hannity was revealed to be Cohen’s mysterious third client. As I reported, the judge ordered Cohen’s lawyers to disclose his name in open court immediately after they failed to prove “at all” that his identity should be treated with special care. After Cohen attorney Stephen Ryan stood up and gave the name, the courtroom broke into gasps and murmurs, and a contingent of reporters rushed outside to share the news.
Another notable incident: For the first time, Trump Organization attorney Alan Futerfas appeared in court to present his interest on behalf of the Trump family’s sprawling real estate company. Futerfas requested that the company be allowed to review all documents seized by federal agents that relate to the Trump Organization, so that they “can help the government make privilege designations.”
The various parties were met with a swarm of cameras when the hearing finally wrapped up at 5 p.m. Shutters clicked as Daniels and Avenatti departed in a black SUV. Passersby snapped photographs of the chaos on their smartphones, and one woman muttered to her friend, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”