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Wilted Flowers: The strange case of Roy Cohn's worst enemy.


      "You saw Roy Cohn testify, you saw that face, star  of the magazine covers.  I suggest to you that when you looked at that  face, you were looking at the face of very real  evil. 

       "Evil can be charming.  If  evil always came in a disgusting guise it would easy to recognize, it wouldn't be a much of a threat,  would it? Evil can be witty, nothing saying that evil people are dumb.  Evil can be cool, particularly when it  marshals itself, when it's vital interests are at  stake.  The face of evil can be quick and sharp,  and can be smarter than any lawyer Richard Dupont can get. 

     "But the face of evil is a face of... evil."

The quotation is from the summation in the case of People v. Dupont. The magazine cover had been marked for identification but denied admission into evidence because the court felt it was not relevant although at one point during the controversy under trial, Cohn had waved it at Richard Dupont and snarled: "Do you think I'm afraid of anyone. Look, I'm the legal executioner."

Dupont was a disgruntled client of Roy Cohn. Believing Cohn had betrayed him, Dupont began an imaginative and pervasive campaign of harassment against Cohn. He sent flowers to Cohn as he was addressing a shareholders meeting of Ford Motors. Cohn claimed they were "wilted." He disguised himself as a doctor to deliver more flowers to Cohn when he was hospitalized for surgery. Also, "wilted." Once, when Cohn was entertaining fashionable guests at his country home in Connecticut, the Greenwich Police Department rushed in with guns drawn: there had been a report of a dead body in Cohn's living room.

The last straw was publication of a counterfeit magazine during Gay Pride Week in 1980. It's central theme: Cohn's confession of homosexuality and apology for persecuting his gay brothers. To some, it simply couldn't be true that right-wing hero Cohn was gay. He complained to the Manhattan DA. Eventually, Dupont was indicted and charged with two felonies including extortion and burglary  and ten misdemeanors. Because of a prior felony conviction, had Dupont been convicted of the felonies, he would have been subjected to a mandatory jail term in a state penitentiary. Because of Dupont's "extravagant" demeanor he would not have lasted long in a penitentiary.

Dupont was referred to me by individuals in the media. Roy Cohn's worst enemy became my client. 
After a six week jury trial, he was acquitted of both felonies and five of the misdemeanors. He survived his misdemeanor sentence but Roy Cohn lasted only a few years. AIDS imposed its own inexorable sentence that ended his life even has it pulled him from his closet.

Here are some links to the record of the Dupont trial:

Conclusion of Summation

His worst enemy sits before you, whatever his  sins, they've got to be measured solely against  that indictment. 

Reasonable doubt about the story  told by Cohn.  What does reasonable doubt mean to  you? The Court will instruct you, but in the final  analysis reasonable doubt is for you to decide.

This is as sacred moment for you as much this  vulgar and profane society we live in can make any  moment sacred. Your oath makes it sacred.  A man  cannot be convicted of a crime except by a verdict  from a jury of his peers.  You are his peers.

How you honor that oath is something that you will  have to live with. ...

I believe that if you honor your oath, that  if you weigh whether the prosecution has met its  burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt the  facts of the indictment, you will find there is  reasonable doubt and that you will return a verdict of not guilty to each and every count or will  certainly weigh carefully the gravity of each and  every count, particularly the first and second  counts. 

This is Richard's moment.  This is your moment. 

My moment is over.

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