Roy Cohn
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Birthplace:New York City


Location of death:Los Angeles, CA

Cause of death:AIDS

Remains: Buried, Union Field Cemetery, Ridgewood, NY

Gender: Male


Race or Ethnicity: White

Sexual orientation:Gay

Occupation: Government, Attorney
Nationality: United States

Executive summary: Joseph McCarthy's henchman

Roy Marcus Cohn was born in New York City on 20th February, 1927. His father, Albert Cohn, was a New York State judge and an important figure in theDemocratic Party.
After being educated at the best private school in Manhattan, he entered Columbia Law School. Admitted to the bar at twenty-one, he used his connections to become a Assistant U.S. Attorney in Manhattan. He played a prominent role in the trial of eleven leaders of the American Communist Party and in the prosecution of Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Rosenberg in 1951. In 1952 Joseph McCarthy appointed Roy Cohn as the chief counsel to the Government Committee on Operations of the Senate. Cohn had been recommended by Edgar Hoover, who had been impressed by his involvement in the prosecution of the Rosenburgs. Soon after Cohn was appointed, he recruited his best friend, David Schine, to become his chief consultant.
The Rosenberg trial brought the 24-year-old Cohn to the attention of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director J. Edgar Hoover, who recommended him to Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy hired Cohn as his chief counsel, choosing him over Robert Kennedy, reportedly in part to avoid accusations of an anti-Semitic motivation for the investigations. Cohn assisted McCarthy's work for the SenatePermanent Subcommittee on Investigations, becoming known for his aggressive questioning of suspected Communists. Cohn tended to be disinclined to hold the hearings in open forums. This mixed well with McCarthy's preference for holding "executive sessions" and "off-the-record" sessions away from the Capitol in order to minimize public scrutiny and to question witnesses with relative impunity. Cohn was given free rein in pursuit of many investigations, with McCarthy joining in only for the more publicized sessions.

Detailed Citations

"Roy Cohn." Spartacus Educational - Home Page. Web. 03 June 2011. <>
- this site was used for the life events mentioned on this page.
"Roy Cohn." NNDB: Tracking the Entire World. Web. 03 June 2011. <>
- this site was used for the general information located directly under the photo.
"Roy Cohn." Carpe Noctem - Seize the Night. Web. 03 June 2011. <>.
- this site was also used for the general information in the above paragraphs.