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Citizen Cohn by Nicholas von Hoffman

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I am reading this book and will post a report about it when I have completed it.

Thus far, it is quite enjoyable.

I enjoy reading about some ancillary figures relating to the Kennedys and the political dynamics of the 1959s and 1960s.

Roy Cohn was a man about town who had an impressive Rolodex, but who usually turned up in less than flattering circumstances.

When I was in law school, I remember reading how he was somewhat of a pioneer in the securities fraud class action litigation arena.

Lawyers called the practice "greenmailing" back then and it was looked down upon by most lawyers.

Now it is simply class action litigation, usually based on lies, contrived causes of action, extortion and settlements awarding vast sums to the law firms and pennies to the shareholders.

I would think that the least the trial lawyers could do would be to erect a statue of Cohn.

As an aside, there is only 1 picture of RFK, which is, of course, in the McCarthy hearings.

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  • 2 months later...

You only think that you know how sleazy, corrupt, fraudulent and manipulative Roy Cohn was until you have read this book.

I don't blush easily, but it was almost disgusting reading how badly Cohn behaved.

One of the money quotes is what he would tell young associates helping him on a case: "Don't tell me what the law is. Tell me who the judge is."

He was disbarred a couple of months before he succumbed to AIDS.

He "dated" Barbara Walters for 25 - 30 years, which damns her by association.

He routinely held court at the Stork Club, he bought Malcom Forbes' 95" yacht (which sank as a result of a suspicious fire), he represented a host of Mafiosi (including John Gotti and Carmine Galente), as well as George Steinbrenner, Donald Trump, Si Newhouse and a whole bevy of other A-list New Yorkers.

He would routinely stiff people who did business with him.

He and RFK hated each other.

McCarthy apparently chose Cohn as his chief counsel, over RFK, to alleviate charges of anti-Semitism resulting from the number of Jews he subpoenaed for interrogation.

Ironically, I am almost through with a great book about Mickey Cohen (I will report on it when I finish it), and he seems like a solid citizen in comparison to Roy Cohn.

The book is well worth reading (because Cohn was a prominent figure who traveled in political circles for several decades), but it really doesn't shed much light on anything related to the Kennedys or the JFK assassination.

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A trick that Cohn worked to perfection was calling Walter Winchell every Sunday afternoon, an hour or 2 before his notorious radio show, and feeding him with talking points of gossip against one or more of Cohn's numerous enemies.

This was actually one of Roy's more ethical and moral techniques when viewed in comparison to the many other sleazy and corrupt methods that he regularly employed.

Edited by Christopher Hall
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