Swamp alert: In the president’s corner, the ‘Donald Trump of lawyering’

by WorldTribune Staff, June 6, 2017

A New York lawyer and political outsider, who media outlets have dubbed “the toughest lawyer on Wall Street” and “the toughest of the tough guys,” is standing at the ready to defend President Donald Trump.

Marc E. Kasowitz, who established his firm in 1993, is an “uberlitigator” who is well known in Manhattan business circles, but has not “reached the inner circle of the establishment in New York City,” Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote for The New York Times on June 6.

Marc E. Kasowitz. / Wall Street Journal

“He is, for lack of a better comparison, the Donald Trump of lawyering,” Sorkin wrote.

Whatever Kasowitz doesn’t know about the D.C. swamp, “he does know about Trump – and he does know about the news media and the 24-hour news cycle. He is no neophyte,” Sorkin wrote.

His firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, is known for its legendary battles on Wall Street.

Starting in 2006, his firm “spent years going after the hedge fund managers Steven A. Cohen, Dan Loeb and James S. Chanos on behalf of Fairfax Financial Holdings, claiming they had engaged in a ‘bear raid’ to drive down the company’s stock,” Sorkin wrote. “The case, after 11 years of back and forth, which judges described as ‘grappling with a lion’s fearsome hide,’ was dismissed. However, a recent three-judge panel has allowed Fairfax to continue its case against Cohen’s firm.”

Kasowitz has also “played on both sides of Wall Street’s biggest fighter: Carl C. Icahn,” Sorkin wrote. In the 1990s, “Kasowitz worked for Bennett S. LeBow, who owned Liggett Group, one of the big-five tobacco companies. LeBow and Icahn, working with Kasowitz, tried, unsuccessfully, to take over RJR Nabisco. (Kasowitz was largely responsible for helping Liggett settle the huge class action suits it faced over the health impact of tobacco; the settlements became a model for much of the tobacco industry.)”

Sorkin continued: “Years later, Kasowitz’s firm was on the other side of Icahn in a dispute over casinos. The client? Trump, along with his daughter Ivanka. Kasowitz’s firm represented the Trumps in a case against Icahn, seeking to prevent him from buying three Trump casinos in Atlantic City after Trump Entertainment Resorts declared bankruptcy. The Kasowitz law firm blasted out a news release in 2010: ‘Kasowitz Clients Donald and Ivanka Trump Defeat Financier Carl Icahn in Casino Takeover Fight.’ ”

Today, Icahn is one of Trump’s biggest supporters and is acting as a special adviser on regulatory reform.

Kasowitz is currently representing former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in the matter of his ousting by Fox over sexual harassment accusations.

“If a client’s trust is what matters most,” Sorkin wrote, “Kasowitz has it from Trump, who has worked with him for years.”

Kasowitz’s website says he has represented “President Donald J. Trump in a wide range of litigation matters for over 15 years.”

Trust “clearly matters to Trump when it comes to his lawyers,” Sorkin noted.


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