The FBI has released hundreds of pages of documents on Donald Trump’s controversial former lawyer Roy Cohn detailing allegations he engaged in bribery.
As a young attorney, Cohn worked as Senator Joseph McCarthy’s grand inquisitor in the purging of America during the Communist ‘red scare’ of the 1950s.
He was also known for is in role prosecuting Soviet spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
The couple were executed in 1953 after being convicted of conspiring to pass secrets about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union.
Cohn had later claimed he had conversations with the trial judge without the presence of the Rosenberg lawyers, which represented an ethical breach by both Cohn and the judge.
He also served as a lawyer for the Trump family, representing them when they were sued for discriminating against black rental applicants.
“It’s important to remember that Trump learned his ABCs for success from Roy Cohn, who was mixed up in the Mafia, defended them, and mentored Trump exactly how to succeed in life,” said Selwyn Raab, a former investigative reporter for the New York Times who covered organized crime. “Always be aggressive, take no prisoners.”
Much of the FBI documents include details of an investigation into Cohn for perjury, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
The case was in connection to a grand jury investigation of an alleged $50,000 bribe he paid the then-chief assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan to prevent several stock swindlers from being indicted in 1959.
Cohn was found not guilty after a trial in that case in 1964.
He was a master of public relations who sought the limelight and taught Trump and Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone how to play hard ball as a ‘hired gun’ attorney
Several of the files on Cohn were sent directly to J. Edgar Hoover, who was then the FBI’s director in the 1960s.
It is understood the FBI wanted to garner as much detail about trips by Cohn to Las Vegas in 1959, and other evidence related to his bribery case.
Other files released Friday and posted online include a letter that Cohn sent Hoover in 1969.
This was when Cohn was apparently being prosecuted on other federal criminal charges.
Following his high profile acquittal, he had illustrious clients including Trump, media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.
Other clients include Carmine Galante and ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno, suspected Mafia chieftains.
Cohn was born to an affluent Jewish family in the Bronx in 1927.
Later in life, Cohn became known for his flamboyant reputation as a fixture at Studio 54 with a famous circle friends.
He was also a trusted confidante to Trump and his family, with Trump famously saying: ‘Where’s my Roy Cohn?,’ whenever he was faced with a financial or political challenge.
‘Donald calls me 15 to 20 times a day. He’s always asking, ‘What is the status of this…and that?’ said Cohn in a 1980 interview with Vanity Fair.
They met seven years earlier in 1973 when the budding real-estate developer and his father, Fred were in hot water with the Justice Department for housing discrimination against African-Americans.
Trump approached Cohn for advice during a chance encounter at a private midtown dinner club known as ‘Le Club.’
Cohn had reportedly told him: ‘Tell them to go to hell and fight the thing in court and let them prove you discriminated.’
Cohn died in 1986 from complications of AIDS, less than two months after being disbarred for professional ethics violations.
He succumbed to AIDS related complications at the age of 55.
According to Roger Stone in The New Yorker: ‘Cohn’s ‘absolute goal was to die completely broke and owing millions to the IRS. He succeeded in that.’
Cohn was also seen as an educator for Trump after he represented his family in the 1970s.
One of Cohn’s relatives claimed: ‘He didn’t just educate Trump, he didn’t just teach Trump, he put Trump in with people who would make Trump.
‘Roy gave him the tools. All the tools. He loved him. He was ruthless.’
Matt Tyrnauer, an award-winning filmmaker, created a 97-minute portrait of this reviled attorney in a documentary which has been released.
Despite the three decades since his death, Cohn’s reputation for his aggressive and reputation-destroying tactics has become commonplace in politics.
Stone is one of a half dozen aides and advisers to Trump who were charged as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
He is accused of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional proceeding, and is set to stand trial in November in Washington’s federal court.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
He was audited by the IRS 19 years in a row for tax evasion and was peripherally caught up in an insurance scam that involved the death of a young man when Cohn’s yacht mysteriously sank off the coast of Florida.