AFI DOCS FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW. I didn’t know much about Roy Cohn going into HBO Documentary‘s Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn and to be perfectly honest, I wish that I could have continued my existence without learning of the evil deeds of a man long dead who still affects the political corruption we face today as a country. I had some vague idea from the tiny bit of Angels in America that I watched on HBO, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
So, back in 1951, which was somewhere towards the beginning of America’s endless hatred of communism, a married couple named Julis and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of selling plans for weapons to the then extant Soviet Union. It has long been debated, particularly by the Rosenberg’s sons Michael and Robert Meeropol, that the charges were trumped up as part of anti-communist Cold War hysteria. Guess who the prosecutor was on the case? Roy Cohn. Guess who was also the Chief Counsel for Senator Joseph McCarthy in his nationwide Communist witch-hunt? Roy Cohn. Guess who was also the attorney for Tony Salerno and Vito Genovese? Roy Cohn. Guess who was Donald Trump‘s mentor and called our current “president” a “genius?” You guessed it, Roy Cohn.
“He was a gay man working against the gay community.”
Cohn was dead-set on winning every case he had, whether he was in the right or not (more often than not, he wasn’t). He also never paid any of his bills or taxes, putting all of his possessions under his law firm. Peter Manso, a reporter who interviewed Roy Cohn several times throughout his life, had copies of seemingly countless unpaid bills that Roy told his book-keeper to leave unpaid. Famous gossip reporter Cindy Adams tells a story of going into his house and taking back three pieces of art which he never paid for, and which Roy Cohn never discussed with her again. She knew he was a snake in the grass.
"…required viewing if you want to know more about the true history of America..."