In March of this year Cohen was the attorney representing Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who was convicted of conspiring to kill Americans and other terrorism charges. Cohen solicited cash payments for his legal services as a way to avoid banking institutions automatically reporting to the IRS any large payments wrote assistant U.S. Attorney John Duncan.
On multiple occasions, the defendant received cash payments for his services in amounts exceeding $10,000.” A search warrant executed on Cohen’s safe deposit box turned up $50,000 in cash. Cohen made regular bank deposits of cash in the thousands of dollars, but never more than $10,000, the prosecutor wrote because “deposits of that amount or more result in the bank automatically notifying the IRS.”
Stanley Cohen is an activist lawyer most identified with Hamas and other anti-Israeli causes and groups. The Jewish Forward had an extensive article about Cohen’s political journey to anti-Zionism, including representation of Hamas and Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, who was convicted last month. It appears from the timing that Cohen’s plea deal was timed to allow him to finish the al-Qaeda trial.
Cohen was indicted in August 2012 in the Northern District of New York on a variety of tax-related charges. Cohen released a statement via Twitter to supporters that he would be pleading guilty. Once again, Cohen maintained the prosecution was political. The statement reads in part:
Tomorrow will be a difficult day, but a necessary one for a number of reasons. As many of you know I am currently under indictment in two separate US federal district courts for essentially the same allegation- impeding or obstructing the IRS. It is not a case, as some have stated, of income tax evasion. Although the government denies it, we know that the investigation began more than 10 years ago when the DOJ began to investigate and tried to charge me with material support for terrorism as a result of my work as an attorney and international law advisor for a number of so-called terrorist groups- most prominently Hamas, who I have had the great honor and privilege of working with as an attorney since 1995; it continues through this day….
Make no mistake about it, this plea will not change my commitment to truth, justice and resistance. Nor should it be seen as acquiescence to the naive and liberal notion that this government and others and their respective criminal justice systems work or are just. The fight will go on but in different ways. I would expect to spend much of my time in prison working with and assisting the unjustly accused and those prosecuted because of color, class or politics
Sentencing is in August. In his statement, Cohen indicated he expects to do 1-3 years in prison.