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[–] think- [S] 0 points 1 point (+1|-0) ago 

[OP continued]

Cohn had been hit with charges of “fraud, deceit and misrepresentation”—for lying on a bar application, for taking a client’s money, for altering the will of an incapacitated man, among other things—that would lead to his disbarment in July 1986.

[Cohn] had been diagnosed as HIV-positive, but told nobody—certainly not Trump, who had testified on Cohn’s behalf in the disbarment proceedings, one of 37 character witnesses, praising him for his loyalty.

Trump, though, found out about Cohn’s AIDS, because people knew, and people talked, and he started pulling legal business from Cohn and transferring it to other attorneys.

Cohn couldn’t believe it. After all he had done for Trump?

“Donald found out about it and just dropped him like a hot potato,” Bell, Cohn’s secretary, told me. “It was like night and day.”

Cohn died August 2, 1986, dishonest to the end, insisting he had liver cancer. The funeral was a who’s who. Mayors and governors and senators and city commissioners.

Barbara Walters. Rupert Murdoch. Estee Lauder. It ended with them singing what Cohn had said was his favorite song. “God Bless America.” Trump stood in the back. He hadn’t been asked to talk.

Not quite a year and a half later, on a Saturday night in December of 1987, Trump threw himself a party. The reason was the release of [his book] The Art of the Deal.

Replete with a red carpet and waiters in white jackets, the atrium of Trump Tower was stocked unavoidably with a glittering array of Cohn’s A-list connections—Walters, Norman Mailer, former governor Hugh Carey, Manhattan borough president Andrew Stein, gossip columnist Liz Smith.

Next to Trump: his wife, and also Si Newhouse—the owner of Random House, the publisher of Trump’s book, but a longtime friend, too, of the fixer behind so much of Trump’s best, most effective work.

“I don’t kid myself about Roy. He was no Boy Scout,” Trump had written in the book that became a surprising runaway bestseller.

Trump now was saying he was “not embarrassed” to say he was friends with Cohn.

In 1992, though, responding to questions about his relationship with Cohn, and Cohn’s relationship with the mob, from New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement and Casino Control Commission, Trump distanced himself from a man he once had called “a genius,” his attorney whose name, face and reputation he would brandish as a weapon.

But Cohn, he said, was just “one of many lawyers” he had hired. The agencies’ report noted: Trump “disputes that Cohn was an aide or confidant and indicates that he did not require Cohn to act as an intermediary.”

According to Trump, the report continued, “he was and is familiar with most of the prominent officials in New York and did not, and does not need an intermediary on his behalf.”

And then, five years later—in an interview with O’Brien, the author of TrumpNation—Trump said Cohn had done for him “a very effective job.”

Even such opportunistic contortions as these—dropping him, claiming him, shunning him, praising him—are themselves residue of Cohn’s influence. Say anything. Win at all costs.

Trump’s status now as the Republican frontrunner in a sense can be traced back to 1984 and the 26th floor of Trump Tower, when he took Cohn’s advice and cashed in some of his celebrity to talk about foreign policy, initiating an extended series of flirtations with the presidency.

“It’s not only the ways in which Roy Cohn shaped his empire—it’s the way he shaped his personality,” said Barrett, the dogged reporter who first outlined the importance of this relationship. Now he watches Trump on the TV in his townhouse in Brooklyn.

“I knew Roy,” he said. “I can hear his voice.”

(Edited by OP.)