Revisiting the Story of Roy Cohn: ‘Bully. Coward. Victim.’

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Roy Cohn was a crook. He was also a New York power broker; an ally to Roger Stone; a closeted, self-hating homophobe; and, most notably today, an attorney for and mentor to Donald J. Trump. Cohn died of AIDS in 1986, but he has recently reentered the public consciousness, thanks to his close friendship with the president.

Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, on HBO in June, explores Cohn’s complicated life and persona, focusing on his time as chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy, whom he defended in a public feud with the Army in 1954. As the film makes clear, Cohn proved adept at using such controversy to bolster his fame, a lesson he would later impart to one young New York real-estate mogul.


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