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Where's My Roy Cohn? (2019)Where's My Roy Cohn? (2019)

The brilliant American lawyer Roy Cohn (1927–1986) was a man of many contradictions and hypocrisies. Born into an observant Jewish family in New York City, after graduating from Columbia Law School at the age of twenty, he became famous for the conviction and execution of the accused spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. He was the lead counsel for Senator Joseph McCarthy. He outed gays in the American government and military, even though he himself was a closeted gay. He was the go-to attorney for mafia dons, Donald Trump, and Rupert Murdoch. Flamboyant, combative, unapologetic, and ruthless, Cohn took pride in being a power broker without scruples. He was a profligate liar and the quintessential bully. Sound familiar? The title of this documentary comes from 2017, when President Trump raged against his attorney general Jeff Sessions for recusing himself and thus failing to protect him from the investigation by Robert Mueller: "Where's my Roy Cohn?" If the director Matt Tyrnauer has any message in this dark and depressing story, it seems to be that although Cohn died of AIDS in 1986, his ghost remains alive and well today. Or that what we're experiencing today with Trump is nothing new.

Dan Clendenin:

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