A Question of Trust? Rabinowitz on Moskoff

You could trust Roy Cohn to come after you, Victor Rabinowitz told researcher Linda Cirino in the late 1970s. Dealing with Saul Moskoff was different. He could be just as trusted to come after you — just more insidiously. “Roy Cohn and Dick Arens working in Washington were killers. They came out ready to kill. Moskoff was not a killer,” Rabinowitz said.

Rabinowitz, one of the lawyers who defended the teachers, worked with Louis Boudin, representing a wide range of the people caught up in the mid-20th-century anti-communist investigations.

Moskoff “was always your friend. There was never any question about Cohn. He was your enemy. But Moskoff — I’m not sure which is better — he was always polite, he was always interested in protecting the rights of the teachers and everybody else. He had this law he had to enforce. … The brutality of the congressional committee approach was not ever present here. The result of course was exactly the same. …It all resulted in exactly the same thing. It made no difference. After a very short period everybody was aware that the interview with Moskoff would turn out to be exactly the same thing. I think we went there because we were all thinking in terms of preparing some kind of legal case, and legal cases did come out of this.”

Excerpted from taped interview by Linda Cirino of Victor Rabinowitz.

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