Donald Trump's Clueless Lawyer Threatens Press, Says It's Ok To Rape Your Spouse

from the a-graduate-of-thomas-cooley-law-school dept

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the absolute ridiculousness of Donald Trump’s “lawsuit” against Univision, which made some bizarre claims about the First Amendment and defamation that clearly did not apply. While there may be a legitimate contractual dispute hidden somewhere in all that mess, there was so much fluff that it made you wonder who is actually advising the entertainer (pretending to be a politician) on legal issues. Apparently, it’s some guy named Michael Cohen, who isn’t just out of his depth on stuff, but he appears to be actively making things worse. In an astounding article over at The Daily Beast, which was initially over claims of “rape” by Donald Trump’s ex-wife Ivana during their divorce proceedings, Cohen not only claimed that you can’t rape a spouse, but also threatened to ruin The Daily Beast if they published an article. Lawyering by bullshit threats, apparently.

Michael Cohen, special counsel at The Trump Organization, defended his boss, saying, ?You?re talking about the frontrunner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as a private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can?t rape your spouse.?

?It is true,? Cohen added. ?You cannot rape your spouse. And there?s very clear case law.?

This is, of course, wrong — both legally and morally. In NY State, the law got rid of the “marital exemption” to rape laws in 1984 and federal law made it clear that spousal rape is a real crime not long after that. Even if that wasn’t the case, is that really a defense? “Oh it’s not rape because they’re married?” Who thinks that’s an okay excuse: “Well, technically, it’s not rape.” Yikes.

Cohen has now sort of, but not really, “apologized” for what he claims was an “inarticulate comment.”

“As an attorney, husband and father there are many injustices that offend me but nothing more than charges of rape or racism. They hit me at my core. Rarely am I surprised by the press, but the gall of this particular reporter to make such a reprehensible and false allegation against Mr. Trump truly stunned me. In my moment of shock and anger, I made an inarticulate comment – which I do not believe — and which I apologize for entirely,” Cohen said in a statement to CNN.

Except that it wasn’t inarticulate. It was wrong and, many would argue, morally reprehensible.

And notice that he’s still blaming the reporter for asking the question. And that brings us to the second crazy bit here: the threats against the reporters. The reporters — Tim Mak and Brandy Zadrozny — didn’t back down. In fact, they not only published the story but included the rather unhinged threats from Cohen:

?I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we?re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don?t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,? Cohen said. ?So I?m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I?m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me??

?You write a story that has Mr. Trump?s name in it, with the word ?rape,? and I?m going to mess your life up? for as long as you?re on this frickin? planet? you?re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you?ll never know how to get out from underneath it,? he added.

Cohen appears to come from a very different generation of legal advice — one in which bogus threats designed to shut people up would actually work, rather than today, when they just provide a great story. Once again, though, this should serve as a reminder for why we need a federal anti-SLAPP law. Cohen has made it abundantly clear that he has no qualms in using bogus lawsuits to try to stifle public discussion of important matters concerning someone who is clearly a public persona and who is even (technically) running for President.

The fact that Cohen’s “apology” for the spouse raping comment still pins the blame on the reporters suggests someone who still doesn’t understand what he’s talking about. A recent “profile” of Cohen includes him describing his own style as being a “pit bull.”:

A 2011 ABC News profile reported that within The Trump Organization he?s called the boss?s ?pit bull.?

?If you do something wrong, I?m going to come at you, grab you by the neck and I?m not going to let you go until I?m finished,? Cohen, now 48, told the TV network.

That story also notes that while he may file lawsuits, his threats aren’t entirely accurate:

To wit: When New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a fraud suit against Trump?s for-profit college in 2013, Cohen threatened Trump?s vengeance: ?The damage to the attorney general is going to be very significant,? Cohen told The New Yorker. ?So significant that he will possibly have to resign.? (Schneiderman has not resigned. The case is ongoing.)

It might make you wonder where Cohen actually got a law degree. And… it turns out that it’s from the infamous Thomas M. Cooley law school. We’ve written about Cooley a bunch of times. It’s a bottom tier law school, considered so bad that US News used to list it as “unranked” because it wouldn’t provide the necessary info. It now lists the school as “Rank Not Published” which US News notes is “for the schools that are in the bottom 25 percent of the rankings.”

In response to this, Cooley came up with its own ranking system, saying it disagreed with US News’ methodology. Magically, Cooley came in second in its own ranking system, second only behind Harvard Law. So what kind of methodology did Cooley’s own ranking system include? Well, they took out anything having to do with “quality” since they deemed those to be too subjective, and then used a bunch of stuff about how big the library is, including “total library square footage” and “library seating capacity.” Apparently, the Thomas Cooley law school has a huge library.

The school has also become infamous for suing critics, so Cohen seems to have taken those lessons to heart. A few years ago it sort of “merged” with Western Michigan University, and used that as an opportunity to change its name to avoid some of the bagggage of the Thomas M. Cooley brand. It now promotes itself as the “Western Michigan University — Cooley Law School” and who does it promote as a distinguished graduate on its own site? You guessed it. One Michael Cohen of the Trump organization:

Thomas Cooley law school continues its traditions, apparently.

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Comments on “Donald Trump's Clueless Lawyer Threatens Press, Says It's Ok To Rape Your Spouse”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Can’t wait for this guy to be the White House lawyer:

“So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me, China?”

“If you do something wrong, Mexico, I’m going to come at you, grab you by the neck and I’m not going to let you go until I’m finished.”

…because no US administration has ever truly explored the lands north of crazy.

Michael Cohen says:

You really can't rape your spouse

I believe that you should expect to have sex if you’re going to get married, and those relations will sometimes require coercion or even force. It’s a part of every marriage. And while it has been pointed out to me that New York changed its stance on marital ‘rape’ over thirty years ago, I hold that as being their mistake rather than mine.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You really can't rape your spouse

…you should expect to have sex if you’re going to get married, and those relations will sometimes require coercion or even force…

That may be consensual so long as neither party complains! But once somebody complains to the authorities – at least in my neighborhood – it can be prosecuted as “domestic violence”. The definition of “domestic violence” does not have to include rape, but does not exclude rape either.

David says:

Re: Re:

Well, here is how Alexandre Dumas Pere reacted when an opponent found nothing better to play than the race card: “My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great-grandfather a monkey. You see, Sir, my family starts where yours ends.”

I think that you’ll find this quote perfectly malleable to your question.

David says:

Re: Please vote for this guy!

We had Reagan already.

The problem is that 4 years of gold for comedians also mean 4 years of gold for military-industrial sock puppet players. And those have had a solid gold run since 2001. And it’s not like they fared all that bad before that, either. I think they got their last serious opposition from Carter, and the last somewhat effective opposition from Eisenhower.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Is this a thing

In order for rich-people progeny to prove they’re worthy of their rich-people inheritance they have to achieve a threshold of personal earnings to prove that they too are self-made, which requires a professional degree, typically in law, business or medicine.

But such degrees are not easy to come by, so when an heir is less than academically suitable they throw money and imbicile at a suitable academy until a graduate comes out.

And Cohen is one such end result?

Am I getting the paradigm right?

David says:

Re: Simple concept

It should be so obvious:
“Sex without consent is rape.”
It doesn’t matter if he does it or she does it or they do it. No consent = rape.

Ah, but marriage is the shrink-wrapped form of consent. “By acceptance of David Cohen’s hand in marriage you indicate consent with all forms of sexual intercourse. If you do not agree to that, return the bridegroom in the original packaging to his parents for a refund.”

Once the groom no longer fits his wedding suit, you’re out of luck.

DocGerbil100 (profile) says:

Okay, It’s Donald Trump, nobody outside the US cares, I wasn’t going to comment at all, I really was going to just pass this one by, but…

Jesus H Christ, where in God’s name did Trump find this man? Couldn’t he have hired someone less horrifying, like a war-criminal or a freshly-released serial-killer?

I can’t help but feel sorry for Cohen’s wife and family. From this time forward, every single person they know is going to look at Mrs Cohen like she’s being raped on a daily basis. Surely she can do better than this appalling, mindless thug.

Lawyers are the very definition of people who need to think before they open their mouths, regardless of the provocation.

It speaks directly to Mr Cohen’s credibility – on every possible level – that he could not do so, before causing such damage to himself, his business and his family in this manner.

I don’t imagine Mr Cohen has much of a future anywhere – and I don’t imagine anyone who knows him now will miss him very much.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I Stump For Trump

You only think he can’t be bought. That in and of itself doesn’t make it so.
What other candidate can I say that about? All of them. If you believe ANY of the candidates don’t have a price, then you’re delusional.

And I could care less as to whether you feel whether him being a nice guy is important or not.

He’s an asshole, appears to surround himself with assholes, and with power, will likely transform into a bigger asshole.

The world would be a far nicer place with one less asshole, that’s for sure.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: I Stump For Trump

The biggest problem I see is, assholes are all you seem to get rising up to be “cream of the crop”. I think Sanders is an exception, but who really knows? Rand Paul seems an exception, but he’s certainly asshole-ish in ways too (attacking planned parenthood? Why?).

The others, assholes without exception, Democrat and Republican. Very sad.

David says:

Re: I Stump For Trump

He’s the ONLY guy running that CAN NOT be bought.

Because he would not remember what he got the bananas for once he’s in a press conference.

Trump’s such a tool that you would not even try to buy him. Instead you’d buy access to him so that you get more time than your opponents to manipulate him into doing your bidding.

Trump is greedy for power, and so much so that he probably is the cheapest candidate of all to subvert.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Lie, truth and the LAW

If this man wants to be Pres. then he must be able to understand and abide by the LAW!

I don’t think anyone seriously believes Trump has a chance in Hades of becoming pres. This is all just icing on the cake of the coronation of the King/Queen. The backroom money has already been spent (spoken). Now, things like Trump’s “bump” is color making the coronation interesting for the plebes watching and believing their great white hope will succeed, whichever “great white hope” they may be rooting for.

It’s a little shocking to realize that US-ians still think this thing is up to them to decide what happens in the end. It’s rigged!

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