Will Michael Cohen become Trump’s John Dean?
Chuck Otey's Pro Bono Barrister
Cohen’s Leap to Right Side of History Should Elevate Public’s Often Dim View of Lawyers
Several months ago in this column, we wondered whether attorney Michael Cohen was indeed becoming President Donald Trump’s own Roy Cohn.
Cohn was the defender of the lies and misdeeds of red-baiting Sen. Joe McCarthy and, in his own right, a ruthless character who would later become a tax cheater and worse, earning him disbarment. He was and remains a deservedly despicable figure.
So, when Trump, sinking inexorably in a swamp of corruption and treason, cried out, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” he was bemoaning the absence of his mentor and partner in perfidy.
Just a few months back it seemed like Cohen, whose name is only an extra “e” away from Trump’s crooked and twisted tutor, would indeed take a bullet for his hero.
Any discussion of Trump’s behavior should always be informed by his closeness with Cohn — a man who had no respect for lawyers, judges or the rule of law. His contempt-laden message was taken to heart by a spoiled and morally rootless minion of a cutthroat builder.
It should come as no surprise that today we see the legal profession — especially our Federal Bureau of Investigation — under incessant attack by Trump and his morally paralyzed mates over at FOX News. Cohn would be proud.
Will Cohen Displace Trump as Time’s “Man of the Year?”
Cohen seems to have chosen a different path, but though he is acting in his own self-interest, he nevertheless has somehow brought a breath air into the whole rancid shroud that envelops the White House. He can now emulate the heroic turn taken by President Richard Nixon’s attorney John Dean, who is now viewed as major figure in the downfall of that presidency.
Cohen could have flopped along like a beached whale in the Trump swamp, beseeching his beleaguered boss for a presidential pardon. Instead (yes, we know he could still be prosecuted in New York), he has decided to come clean and expedite the inevitable end to this country’s longest nightmare since World War II.
By deploying former Clinton attorney Lennie Davis as his spokesman and giving Davis the go-ahead to pledge Cohen’s full support and cooperation with all of the Trump investigations, this outgoing barrister may — to shock of us all and the eternal chagrin of his former client — end up as Time magazine’s “Man of the Year.”
Inns of Court Start Year Under New President Victoria Lombardi
Acknowledging that our legal system is linked with and influenced strongly by the laws of England — especially those that have evolved through statute and precedent over the last 800 years — the Kings County Inn of Court, led this year by President Victoria Lombardi, can point to its 18th successful year of emulating (loosely, of course) the manner in which the ancient London Inns of Court enabled the emergence of our modern legal profession.
Whereas the ancient Inns provided bed, board and book to would-be barristers, our Inn here is limited to enrolled barristers. But it still, based on the principles set forth by founders Hon. Gerard Rosenberg, Justice Marsha Steinhardt, Hon. Edward Rappaport and Hon. Abraham Gerges, focuses on professionalism and collegiality.
Hon. Rosenberg, who is also a past president, to this day emphasizes the Inn’s “collegial aspect.”
“We know we have to help lawyers — especially younger ones — to learn and respect the rule of law, but it is also our duty to promote social interaction, particularly among younger and veteran members of the bar,” he said at a meeting last year. “In addition, it’s very important that lawyers get to know judges on more than a formal basis because that is the kind of ‘collegiality’ that strengthens and informs us of our duties in society, especially in times when the rule of law is under challenge.”
The Inn is fortunate this year to have a skilled trial lawyer at its helm in Lombardi, who succeeds the very astute Appellate Division Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix. She assisted by a slate composed of President-Elect Joseph Rosato (still remembered as “Wolf Man” for his singular stint in one of the Inn’s many reenactments of “Grimm Fairytale Lessons in the Law”), Counselor Justice Carl Landicino, Treasurer Anthony Vaughn and Secretary Justice Sylvia Ash.
Officers and members benefit from the constant detail work performed by Inn Administrator Lucy DiSalvo and Director Jeff Feldman.
Kings County Columbians Start CLE Season with Lecturer Mark Longo
The Kings County Columbian Lawyers Association will enjoy a fine dinner and an expert word or two on ethics when they gather on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at the Rex Manor, 11th Avenue and 60th Street here in Brooklyn. Respected veteran barrister Mark A. Longo, a past Columbian president, will deliver the CLE-accredited message titled “Ethics 2018.” His partner Ross D’Apice is also a past Columbian president.
Columbians will be treated as well to a full five-course dinner and are advised to make reservations in advance, no later than Sept.2, according to a Columbian spokeswoman. The evening kicks off at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour sponsored by John Afrides Photography and Gold Handle Exhibits.
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