Back in the early 1980s, the US government was trying to nail mob boss John Gotti. Three times a federal grand jury indicted Gotti. Three times he walked out of the courthouse not only a free man but to the cheers of spectators. On more than one occasion jurors asked him for his autograph after acquitting him. The key force in this was his lawyer, Bruce Cutler, who ran rings around federal prosecutors–as we’re discovering, if you have the resources to defend yourself this is not all that hard to do. Running rings also seemed to include bribing a random juror. In short, Cutler was basically what you’d expect a mobbed up lawyer to be.
The next time Gotti was indicted, the feds went after Cutler. Using wiretaps of mobsters the feds were able to build a plausible case that Cutler was more than Gotti’s attorney, he actually functioned more as a consigliere of the crime family. The feds convinced a federal judge that Cutler had irresolvable conflicts and the judge took him off the case.
Compare and contrast with the way the federal government has treated Michael Cohen.
Cohen, who happens to be the president’s lawyer, has had his home, his hotel residence, and his office raided. He’s had privileged information seized by the FBI and undoubtedly read/copied by them before a court could step in an appoint a special master. Cohen seems to be the target of a series of orchestrated leaks, leaks that probably come from within the office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Somehow his personal bank records, records which were seized by the FBI, have been made available to the shyster representing porn star Stormy Daniels. A pen register was placed on his phone which allowed the metadata to all incoming and outgoing calls to be collected…as well as the full contents of any text messages.
Everything the FBI has seized could have been provided by way of subpoena. But the prosecutors and FBI made a decision to go medieval on Cohen, just like they did on Manafort, for the sole reason of intimidating him and anyone else they want to talk to. The intimidation has one focus, as a federal judge noted last week, it is to indict and cause the impeachment of President Trump.
On the one hand, we have the Gotti family attorney, a guy who, it has been alleged by some, was involved in bribing jurors, scuttling federal investigations by hook or crook, and who may, it has been alleged by some, have been complicit in the planning of some hits. He is not wiretapped. His home is not raided. He is not arrested. He isn’t even subjected to Bar discipline. Cohen, who seems to be just your average lawyer on the make, has been subjected to treatment not meted out to espionage suspects. One was a real danger to society, one is simply the lawyer for a president a special counsel is trying to have impeached.
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