Before his guilty plea for running his law practice substantially off the books for the better part of a decade, I only had heard of Stanley Cohen tangentially.  He pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing the IRS.

I knew he was anti-Israeli, and hobnobbed with Hamas.  But he wasn’t a major (or even minor) focus of mine.

He’s facing 18 months in jail.  He doesn’t want to serve that time.  He has another guilty plea in a separate case coming up; I’m not sure if that would add any time, it looks like a package deal.

A change.org petition drive has started seeking 10,000 signatures to keep him out of jail.  It’s not clear who’s behind the petition, but it is being heavily promoted not only on Cohen’s Twitter account, but also by various “Anonymous” type Twitter accounts and anti-Israeli boycotters. 

As had Cohen himself, the petition presents his prosecution as political:

The political nature of this prosecution is evident from the severity of the charges leveled against Cohen for underlying acts many of which are not even alleged to be illegal in and of themselves (for example accepting cash payments from clients, or keeping cash in an office safe), or are as benign and common as allowing clients to barter labor for legal services.

It is apparent that the motivation driving these charges is not taxes, but is in fact retaliation for Mr. Cohen’s years of standing up to governments on behalf of people and peoples’ movements. These charges are clearly intended to silence Cohen and shut down his consistent efforts to assist the politically unpopular and socially marginalized.

That’s a hard sell, considering the breadth of his disregard for even the most basic tax reporting requirements over a long period of time, as detailed in our prior post.  The petition is not off to a fast start, with under 500 signatures of the 10,000 sought.

One thing I didn’t realize was the complete depth of Cohen’s hatred of Israel.  Among his tweets since his conviction is bravado that he’d rather serve the 18 months in prison than dine with a Zionist:

Twitter - @StanleyCohenLaw - Rather serve 18 mos than dine with Zionist

Twitter - @StanleyCohenLaw - Zionism largest threat to peace in world

I always find that type of bravado interesting.

Maybe the judge should offer Cohen a choice — 18 months in prison or dinner with a Zionist. 

I wonder which he would chose if that really, truly were the choice he faced.  Prison, or his credibility.

(Featured image source: Twitter)