Stanley Cohen, Defended Osama's In-Law, Loses Law License in Tax Conviction

Radical Defense Attorney Failed To File for 6 Years

getty images

By Reuters

Published April 14, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A prominent New York defense lawyer who recently represented the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden has pleaded guilty to failing to file income taxes for six years.

Stanley Cohen, 63, pleaded guilty on Monday in federal court in Syracuse, New York, to obstructing and impeding the Internal Revenue Service, according to court filings

Prosecutors said Cohen failed to file tax returns between 2005 and 2010, and routinely accepted cash from clients and storing it in a safe deposit box at an upstate bank.

Cohen operates a law office out of New York City but also has a home and office 100 miles to the north, in Sullivan County.

According to the court filings, Cohen also agreed to plead guilty within the next 10 days in a separate tax-related case in Manhattan federal court, where he is charged with failing to file tax returns for his law office in 2006 and 2007.

In a lengthy statement released via Twitter on Sunday, Cohen said he expected to be sentenced to 18 months in prison and to lose his law license, which he received in 1984.

“I would expect to spend much of my time in prison … assisting the unjustly accused and those prosecuted because of color, class, or politics,” he said.

Cohen is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 21.

U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian in the Northern District of New York said in a statement that Cohen had sought to avoid paying his fair share of taxes.

“No citizen, especially an attorney, is above the law,” Hartunian said.

Cohen represented Suleiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden and a former spokesman for al Qaeda, who last month was found guilty in Manhattan federal court of conspiring to kill Americans.

Cohen has also previously represented officials from the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas, members of an upstate New York Native American tribe accused of smuggling $700 million worth of cigarettes and liquor into Canada, and Mohamed Alessa, a Jordanian citizen living in New Jersey who was convicted in 2011 of plotting to join an armed Islamic group in Somalia to wage holy war against non-Muslims.

The cases are United States of America v. Stanley L. Cohen, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 13-cr-00979, and United States of America v. Stanley L. Cohen, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York No. 12-cr-00316.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
  • From The Daily Show to Lizzy Caplan, here's your Who's Jew guide to the 2014 #Emmys. Who are you rooting for?
  • “People at archives like Yad Vashem used to consider genealogists old ladies in tennis shoes. But they have been impressed with our work on indexing documents. Now they are lining up to work with us." This year's Jewish Genealogical Societies conference took place in Utah. We got a behind-the-scenes look:
  • What would Maimonides say about Warby Parker's buy-one, give-one charity model?
  • For 22 years, Seeds of Peace has fostered dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian teens in an idyllic camp. But with Israel at war in Gaza, this summer was different. http://jd.fo/p57AB
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.