Newsletter: Today: What’s Behind Client No. 3?

Michael Cohen appeared in federal court in Manhattan on Monday to argue that material seized from his office and home by the FBI last week should be protected by attorney-client privilege.
(Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)

No, you probably couldn’t make this up.


What’s Behind Client No. 3?

It was a courtroom drama made for TV, though no cameras were present: A judge ordered President Trump’s lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen to reveal the name of his mysterious third client. The answer: Sean Hannity. Though the Fox News personality would later say Cohen “never represented me in any matter,” the Hannity connection raised a new set of questions about the legalities and ethics of his relationship. Uncomfortable as that was, the president is so far losing in the bigger picture as he fights his own Justice Department over Cohen’s records. The judge would not issue an order to block prosecutors from sifting through those records, which were seized by the Feds last week. But she did delay her ruling on whether Trump’s and Cohen’s lawyers could quash at least some of the evidence.


More Politics

-- In Syria, Russian and Syrian forces reportedly blocked international inspectors from the site of a suspected poison gas attack. Meanwhile, the White House pulled back on new sanctions against Russia, even as the U.S. and British governments warned of a Russian campaign to hack routers worldwide.

-- Federal investigators found Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt broke federal law when he spent more than $43,000 of agency funds to install a soundproof telephone booth in his office.

-- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be back at Mar-a-Lago to meet with Trump starting today. The focus will be on North Korea and its nuclear weapons program.

Upon Further Thought, Give Me Shelter

In his State of the City address, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke in lofty terms of “an era of growth and of change” as he positions himself for a possible presidential run in 2020. But his defining challenge is on the streets of L.A.: the fate of tens of thousands of homeless people. After focusing on building permanent housing over the long term, Garcetti is taking a new tack: putting up $20 million for emergency shelters to serve as a bridge.

Who Will Run the LAUSD?

Austin Beutner doesn’t have a background in education, but the former investment banker (and onetime L.A. Times publisher) has been looking at some of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s most intractable problems as the co-chair of an outside task force. Now, he’s a leading contender to run the district, though a dispute over a charity he founded may muddy the waters.

Exiled From Paradise

The Maldives is known as a dream destination for honeymooners and others who enjoy its pristine beaches and luxury resorts. The politics in this Indian Ocean archipelago are another matter. Former President Mohamed Nasheed, who once held a Cabinet meeting underwater to bring attention to global warming, has been living in exile after being convicted under anti-terrorism laws. Yet Nasheed wants to make another run for president against his rival — that is, if he’s not arrested upon his return.

In 2009, Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed held a Cabinet meeting underwater to draw attention to the threat posed by rising sea levels.
(Mohammed Seeneen / Associated Press )

The Pulitzer Surprise

The Pulitzer Prizes are print journalism’s highest honors, with this year’s top prizes going to the New York Times and New Yorker for investigations about Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men and to the Washington Post for uncovering allegations about Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore. But the Pulitzers also honor the arts, and the big surprise was Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar for his album “Damn.” In a historic move, the Pulitzer committee (not known for its pop culture cred) recognized how Lamar documented South L.A. black life through beats and verses.

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-- Highlights from the State of the City address by Mayor Garcetti.

-- Take a spin at Porsche’s L.A. Experience Center, a theme park for grown-ups who love to drive.


-- Newly released video footage shows that Sacramento police waited almost five minutes after firing their weapons to deliver medical aid to fatally wounded Stephon Clark out of an apparent concern that he was armed and playing dead.

-- At a preliminary hearing, L.A. prosecutors laid out their case against Robert Durst, arguing the real estate tycoon should stand trial for murder.

-- A San Pedro man has pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Rep. Maxine Waters in a racist tirade after he heard a report on talk radio that criticized Waters for making critical comments about Trump.

-- The streets of San Francisco are filled with electric scooters placed by companies without a permitting process, and that has some officials fed up.


-- Coachella, revisited: Why Eminem was not the right man to close out the concert.

-- The critically acclaimed independent film “The Rider” is the product of an unlikely teaming of a cowboy from South Dakota and a filmmaker from Beijing.

-- Marvel comics creator Stan Lee has filed a lawsuit against his former manager alleging fraud, financial abuse of an elder, conversion and misappropriation of his name and likeness.

-- Harry Anderson, who portrayed the magic- and Mel Torme-loving Judge Harry T. Stone on the Emmy-winning NBC series “Night Court,” has died at age 65.


Liza Minnelli is parting with 2,000 pieces from her “magnificent morass of treasures” (as singer Michael Feinstein puts it) via an auction in June, but you can see 150 for free this month at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. Among the items on display: the costume she wore singing the “Mein Herr” number in the film “Cabaret” and a letter from President Clinton.


-- States with legalized recreational marijuana are seeing some new supporters: Republican politicians.

-- An hours-long riot at a South Carolina maximum-security prison with a long track record of violence left seven inmates dead and 17 more injured.

-- The trial of an American pastor on terrorism and espionage charges in Turkey has begun. The case highlights the country’s increasingly fractured relationship with the U.S.

-- The launch of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite spacecraft has been delayed until Wednesday.


-- The Southern California News Group, which includes the Orange County Register and L.A. Daily News, is pushing back against its owner, urging readers to pay and pondering a nonprofit model.

-- Starbucks, which spent years touting its commitment to social justice, is scrambling to restore trust in the coffee chain after the arrest of two black patrons in Philadelphia.

-- SpaceX will build the company’s BFR rocket and spaceship system at a facility at the Port of L.A.


-- Rookie Shohei Ohtani is creating such a buzz, he’s making the Angels relevant again for a national audience. The pitcher’s next start is tonight.

-- Veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic is giving his new team, the Galaxy, quite a show too. He’ll be a guest on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” tonight.


-- Garcetti’s plans for homeless shelters raise as many questions as they answer.

-- Don’t call us “Cali.” We’re California, thank you.


-- Public school educators around the U.S. show the conditions inside their schools, complete with 25-year-old textbooks and holes in the ceiling. (New York Times)

-- During World War II, Donald Duck helped explain income taxes to the American people. (Time)

-- Why does science move fast and philosophy develop so slowly? (Aeon)


El Segundo is home to a tiny blue butterfly and a giant oil refinery that gave the city its name. It’s been in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most roads with a hill or a grade. And it includes a residential area with a Mayberry feel and the Hyperion sewage treatment plant. Columnist Robin Abcarian paid a visit to the city that will soon host the L.A. Times’ new headquarters.

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