By Gregory Crofton
“Where is My Roy Cohn?” is a new documentary by Matt Tyrnauer (Studio 54, Valentino: The Last Emperor) that aims to map out how America arrived at a place where its democracy is being shredded by President Donald Trump, a raging and likely drug-fueled narcissist who only cares about winning, no matter what the cost.
The most surprising thing? Trump has a strategy and a game plan, one taught to him by legal mastermind Roy Cohn. And it appears to be working, just as it did for Cohn.
Crimes, including theft and murder, are a given for these type of evil men. What’s novel is the formula used in their counter attacks: Smear + Fear + Media = Victory (or no admission of guilt).” The media is the most important part of the equation.
Tyrnauer’s documentary is thorough — albeit a bit numbing and at times clunky — and answers most every question one might have about Cohn. It reveals how Cohn helped Ronald Reagan become president, and, when he was just 23 years of age, prosecuted Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for espionage, which led to their electrocutions.
In his long career, which eventually led to disbarment, Cohn even defended New York mobsters. He was hired by John Gotti, who had shot and killed a man in a restaurant. Cohn worked out a plea deal that had Gotti serve just two years in prison for the murder.
Tyrnauers’s film is a master class in the life of Cohn, whose life oddly has defined the last 75 years of American history. It was Cohn who whispered in the ear of Joseph McCarthy during the U.S. government’s anti-communist and anti-homosexual hearings of the early 1950s. And it was Cohn who tutored Trump on how to beat the system, all while, go figure, touting the greatness of our country.
Find more about “Where’s My Roy Cohn?” — its title a question Trump reportedly asked in desperation while working with Attorney General Jeff Sessions — at the filmmaker’s website.
Watch this interview with director Matt Tyrnauer.
Tyranuer interviewed on National Public Radio.