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All the president's lawyers: Counselling Trump

Friday August 24 2018

Rudy Giuliani

In this file photo taken on November 20, 2016 lawyer Rudy Giuliani stands with then President-elect Donald Trump before their meeting at Trump International Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. "I'm a killer. I can rip skin off a body," Giuliani was quoted as saying in a 1990 column in The New York Post. PHOTO | GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA | DREW ANGERER 

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Michael Cohen turned on Donald Trump this week, but he's just one in an army lawyers who have defended the scandal-prone US president over the past four decades.

From mob lawyer Roy Cohn in the 1970s to former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani in today's Russia probe, Trump has shown an abiding love of combative lawyers.

4,095 SUITS

Before the 2016 election, USA Today reported that Trump and his companies had been involved in 4,095 lawsuits over the previous 30 years.

"Does anyone know more about litigation than Trump?" the Republican candidate told a campaign rally in January 2016.


"I'm like a PhD in litigation."

He has brought that penchant to "lawyer-up" into the Oval Office, hiring a rotating cast of legal eagles to defend his personal interests, in addition to White House counsel Donald McGahn.

Here is a look at some of Trump's most colourful lawyers over the years.

Cohn shot to fame as chief counsel for Senator Joseph McCarthy's campaign to root out Communists in the United States, and played a role in the 1951 conviction of Soviet spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

Trump hired Cohn, also a lawyer to the mob, in the 1970s when he was starting out in Manhattan real-estate.

The aggressive litigator quickly became a mentor.

In 1973, when the Department of Justice charged the Trump Organisation with housing discrimination, Cohn fired off a $100 million countersuit, honing the Trump maxim that when attacked, hit back harder.


Trump ultimately settled without pleading guilty.

The tycoon reportedly called Cohn a "genius" but "a lousy lawyer."

Cohn was charged multiple times with misconduct, including perjury, but was never convicted.

He died in 1986 as a result of complications from Aids.

He has been immortalised as a power-crazed hypocrite in the play "Angels in America," played by Al Pacino in the TV miniseries of the same name.

"You knew when you were in Cohn's presence you were in the presence of pure evil," lawyer Victor Kovner has been quoted as saying by Vanity Fair.

A long-time friend, Giuliani was appointed to the president's personal legal team in April.

An attack-dog of the style favoured by Trump, the 74-year-old is his chief lawyer for the TV cameras, strenuously defending his boss.

He has attracted ridicule for some of his more controversial remarks, most recently for his "truth isn't truth" comment.

He was mayor of New York from 1994-2001, presiding over a massive drop in crime and was feted for his leadership after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

He was US Attorney in Manhattan in the 1980s, famous for launching a crackdown on the mafia and chairs an international security consulting firm.

The 85-year-old Harvard Law School alumni was Trump's divorce lawyer in his multi-million-dollar splits from first and second wives, Ivana and Marla.


An expert trial lawyer, praised for his killer instincts, his other famous clients have included Mick Jagger, Johnny Cash and The Rolling Stones.

"I'm a killer. I can rip skin off a body," he was quoted as saying in a 1990 column in The New York Post.

Trump is quoted as calling him "the best lawyer that I ever saw."

Goldberg has apparently been shopping around a "tell-all" memoir and told CNN that the president can't be counted on to tell the truth.

Litigating cases for Trump for more than 15 years, he has been described by CNBC as the "toughest lawyer on Wall Street" and has represented the president in connection with the Russia investigation.

The 66-year-old was forced to apologise for firing off profanity-laced emails to a critic in 2017, including the threat: "Watch your back, bitch."

He also represents Trump on the Russia investigation.

A staunch defender of Christian causes, he has argued 12 cases before the US Supreme Court, and has side gigs as a radio host and a weekly television program.

The 62-year-old has defended Israel at the International Criminal Court and written a best-selling book about the Islamic State extremist group.