Roy Cohn was Trump's attorney, good friend, and closest adviser. The following is a somewhat tame introduction to Roy Cohn and his relationship to Trump.
There are other articles out there alleging Cohn ran a blackmail scheme for J Edgar Hoover, involving underage boys.
I will add some links later.
'In the formative years of Donald Trump’s career, when he went from a rich kid working for his real estate-developing father to a top-line dealmaker in his own right, Cohn was one of the most powerful influences and helpful contacts in Trump’s life.
Over a 13-year-period, ending shortly before Cohn’s death in 1986, Cohn brought his say-anything, win-at-all-costs style to all of Trump’s most notable legal and business deals.
Interviews with people who knew both men at the time say the relationship ran deeper than that—that Cohn’s philosophy shaped the real estate mogul’s worldview and the belligerent public persona visible in Trump’s presidential campaign.
By the 1970s, when Trump was looking to establish his reputation in Manhattan, the elder Cohn had long before remade himself as the ultimate New York power lawyer, whose clientele included politicians, financiers and mob bosses.
Cohn engineered the combative response to the Department of Justice’s suit alleging racial discrimination at the Trumps’ many rental properties in Brooklyn and Queens. He brokered the gargantuan tax abatements and the mob-tied concrete work that made the Grand Hyatt hotel and Trump Tower projects.
The mob Trump cooperated with was the Gambino crime family, who was involved in underage sex trafficking, and the creation and distribution of child porn. think-
[The list of Cohn's clients] included the executives of media empires, the Archbishop of New York and mafia kingpin Fat Tony Salerno.
"[Trump] considered Cohn a mentor,” Mike Gentile, the lead prosecutor who got Cohn disbarred for fraud and deceit not long before he died, said in a recent interview.
Trump did not respond to a request from Politico to talk about Cohn. In the past, though, when he has talked about Cohn, Trump has been clear about why he collaborated with him, and admired him.
“If you need someone to get vicious toward an opponent, you get Roy,” he told Newsweek in 1979.
A year later, pressed by a reporter from New York magazine to justify his association with Cohn, he was characteristically blunt: “All I can tell you is he’s been vicious to others in his protection of me.”
He elaborated in an interview in 2005. “Roy was brutal, but he was a very loyal guy,” Trump told author Tim O’Brien. “He brutalized for you.”
Trump, in the end, turned some of that cold calculation on his teacher, severing his professional ties to Cohn when he learned his lawyer was dying of AIDS.
Cohn and Trump, according to Trump, met in 1973 at Le Club, a members-only East Side hangout for social-scene somebodies and those who weren’t but wanted to be.
By then Cohn had been in the public eye for 20 years. As chief counsel to McCarthy, he led secretive investigations of people inside and outside the federal government whom he and McCarthy suspected of Communist sympathies, homosexuality or espionage.
Over a period of several years, McCarthy’s crusade destroyed dozens of careers before a final 36-day, televised hearing brought his and Cohn’s often unsubstantiated allegations into the open, leading to McCarthy’s censure in the Senate. Cohn, disgraced by association, retreated to his native New York.
There, through the ‘60s and into the ‘70s, Cohn embraced an unabashedly conspicuous lifestyle. He had a Rolls-Royce with his initials on a vanity plate and a yacht called Defiance.
He was a singular nexus of New York power, trafficking in influence and reveling in gossip. He hung on the walls of the East 68th Street townhouse, that doubled as the office of his law firm, pictures of himself with politicians, entertainers and other bold-face names.
He was a tangle of contradictions, a Jewish anti-Semite and a homosexual homophobe, vehemently closeted but insatiably promiscuous. In 1964, ’69 and ’71, he had been tried and acquitted of federal charges of conspiracy, bribery and fraud, giving him—at least in the eyes of a certain sort—an aura of battle-tested toughness, the perception of invincibility.
Trump was 27. He had just moved to Manhattan but was still driving back to his father’s company offices in Brooklyn for work. He hadn’t bought anything. He hadn’t built anything. But he had badgered the owners of Le Club to let him join, precisely to get to know older, connected, power-wielding men like Cohn. He knew who he was. And now he wanted to talk.
He and his father had just been slapped with Department of Justice charges that they weren’t renting to blacks because of racial discrimination. Attorneys had urged them to settle. Trump didn’t want to do that. He quizzed Cohn at Le Club. What should they do?
“Tell them to go to hell,” Cohn told Trump, according to Trump’s account in his book The Art of the Deal, “and fight the thing in court.”
That December, representing the Trumps in United States v. Fred C. Trump, Donald Trump and Trump Management, Inc., Cohn filed a $100-million countersuit against the federal government, deriding the charges as “irresponsible” and “baseless.”
The judge dismissed it quickly as “wasting time and paper.”
The back-and-forth launched more than a year and a half of bluster and stalling and bullying—and ultimately settling.
By June of 1975, the judge had had it with the Trumps’ attorney. They hashed out the details of a consent decree.
The Trumps were going to have to rent to more blacks and other minorities and they were going to have to put ads in newspapers—including those targeted specifically to minority communities—saying they were an “equal housing opportunity” company.
The government called the consent decree “one of the most far reaching ever negotiated.”
Cohn and Trump? They called it a victory.
Case 73 C 1529 was over. The relationship between Cohn and Trump had just begun.
“Though Cohn had ostensibly been retained by Donald to handle a single piece of litigation,” Wayne Barrett, an investigative journalist for New York’s Village Voice, would write in his 1992 book about Trump, “he began in the mid-‘70s to assume a role in Donald’s life far transcending that of a lawyer. He became Donald’s mentor, his constant adviser on every significant aspect of his business and personal life.”
By 1977, Trump was in the thick of trying to make the first major move of his business career—the ambitious refurbishment of the crumbling Commodore hotel in the then-down-and-out area around Grand Central station. Trump wanted to turn it into a lavish Grand Hyatt, and did.
The only way he was able to do it, though, was an unprecedented 40-year, $400-million tax abatement from the city. And the only way he got it was Cohn.
Cohn had been tagged as “a legal executioner” in a 1978 piece in Esquire. “One of the most reptilian characters I’ve ever met,” Auletta [the journalist who wrote the article] told me.
For the Hyatt deal, Cohn called upon his deep relationships with the mayor, Abe Beame, and one city hall staffer, Stanley Friedman, who practically singlehandedly pushed through the last approvals and then promptly went to work for Cohn’s law firm.
If the race case was Trump’s introduction to Cohn, and the prenup a blending of the personal and professional, the Grand Hyatt was a master class.
“Cohn’s exploitation of Friedman to secure the Commodore booty was an unforgettable lesson for Donald,” Barrett later wrote, “exposing him to the full reach of his mentor’s influence and introducing him to the netherworld of sordid quid pro quos that Cohn ruled.
This almost ritualistic initiation not only inducted Donald into the circle of sleaze that engulfed Cohn, the bountiful success of it transferred the predatory values and habits Cohn embodied to his yearning understudy.”
In the New York Times in 1980, Cohn called himself “not only Donald’s lawyer, but also one of his close friends.”
They talked, according to Vanity Fair, “15 to 20 times a day.”
On occasion, when negotiations faltered, according to the Times, Trump would pull out a picture of Cohn. “Would you rather deal with him?”
Hanging on the wall in Cohn’s office was a photo of Trump, according to Gary Belis, the former director of public relations for Fortune magazine, and Trump had signed it. “To Roy,” he had written. “My greatest friend. Donald.”
On September 5, 1980, according to Jerome Tuccille’s 1985 biography of Trump, Trump was the star of—finally—the grand opening of the Grand Hyatt. The governor, the mayor, the former mayor—they all were there, and so, obviously, was Cohn.
Cohn helped Trump get a $20-million tax abatement for Trump Tower, which was built almost entirely of concrete, at a time when the New York concrete industry was controlled by various mob associates, who played nice with Trump thanks to his go-to go-between.
“I knew Trump quite well,” John Cody, a key concrete boss, said in Barrett’s book. “Donald liked to deal with me through Roy Cohn.”
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