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FBI releases file on Trump’s late lawyer Roy Cohn


Roy Cohn (L) and Donald Trump attend the Trump Tower opening in October 1983 at The Trump Tower in New York City.Sonia Moskowitz | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty ImagesThe FBI on Friday released nearly 750 pages of documents from the bureau’s file on the late controversial, hyper-aggressive lawyer Roy Cohn, whose high-profile clients included President Donald Trump when Trump was a fledgling real-estate mogul in New York City.”Where’s my Roy Cohn?” Trump has been quoted lamenting when he was faced with political and legal pressures.Cohn was famous — and infamous — for his work for Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin in the 1950s investigating suspected infilitration by communists in U.S. government agencies, as well as his role prosecuting Soviet spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed for stealing American atomic secrets. In the Rosenberg case, Cohn later admitted to conversations with the trial judge outside of the presence of the Rosenberg lawyers — a serious ethical breach by both Cohn and the judge.The Big Apple bon vivant Cohn also was an associate of the admitted Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone, another Trump ally. Stone currently is under indictment for of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing justice, charges related to his alleged efforts to get WikiLeaks to release emails stolen from Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign.The file includes details of an investigation into Cohn for perjury, conspiracy and obstruction of justice in connection with a grand jury pobe of an alleged $500 bribe paid Cohn in 1959.Cohn was found not guilty after a trial in that case in 1964.Cohn died in 1986 from complications of AIDS, less than two months after been disbarred for professional ethics violations.His clients in the years before he died included Trump, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, and Carmine Galante and “Fat Tony” Salerno, suspected Mafia chieftains. His also numbered among his celebrity friends President Ronald Reagan’s wife, Nancy.The Washington Post in 2016 described an early meeting between Trump and Cohn in 1971, at a hot spot called Le Club.”Trump introduced himself to Cohn, who was sitting at a nearby table, and sought advice: How should he and his father respond to Justice Department allegations that their company had systematically discriminated against black people seeking housing?”” The Post reported.”My view is tell them to go to hell,” Cohn said, according to The Post. “And fight the thing in court.” Despite years of using rumors about the homosexuality of his foes to smear them, Cohn himself was gay. He claimed until his death that he had liver disease, not AIDS.Cohn’s closeted sexuality, ruthlessness against alleged communists and role as a bete noire of the left in the United States led to him being featured as a prominent character in Tony Kushner’s landmark play, “Angels in America.” Al Pacino portrayed Cohn in the HBO adapation of that drama.The release of the FBI’s Cohn files comes on the heels of a new documentary that uses Trump’s quote about Cohn as its title.Cohn was at least the first of two personal lawyers for Trump to be disbarred, in his case for a range of misconduct. The second was Trump’s more recent attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, who is serving a three-year federal prison term for crimes that include ones related to a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged sexual tryst with Trump in the mid-2000s. Trump denies having sex with Daniels or with another woman, Playboy model Karen McDougal, who received another hush money payout before the 2016 election that was facilitated by Cohen.Earlier this week, a relative of Cohn’s wrote a column for Politico Magazine entitled “I’m Roy Cohn’s Cousin. He Would Have Detested Trump’s Russia Fawning.””My cousin Roy Marcus Cohn—counsel to Senator Joe McCarthy, consigliere to Mafia bosses, mentor to Donald Trump—had almost no principles,” the column by David Marcus said.”He smeared Jews even though he was Jewish. He tarred Democrats even though he was a Democrat. He persecuted gay people even though he was gay. Yet throughout his life, he held fast to one certainty: Russia and America were enemies,” Marcus wrote.”Roy often told me the Kremlin blamed the U.S. for Russia’s failure to prosper, so Russian leaders were bent on destroying our democracy. If Roy had lived another 30 years, I’m sure he’d be pleased to learn that his protégé was elected president. But I am equally sure Roy would be appalled by Trump’s obsequious devotion to ex-KGB officer Vladimir Putin.”- Additional reporting by CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger

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