Ty Cobb goes to White House
Man who defended Qwest officials caught in financial scandal will work for President Trump.
The president’s newest lawyer, Ty Cobb, who defended Qwest officials caught up in the company’s financial scandal in Denver early this century, is the ideal advocate for an administration pinned in a harsh media spotlight, according to a former federal prosecutor who faced off against him.
Cobb is “unsurpassed” in showing
Ty Cobb favorable facets of a client whom prosecutors might otherwise consider disagreeable and unappealing, said David Vicinanzo, now head of the government investigations practice at Boston law firm Nixon Peabody.
The White House named Cobb, a former federal prosecutor who was managing partner at Hogan & Hartson’s Denver office in 2004, special counsel on Saturday. In his new position, he will be in charge of overseeing the White House’s legal and media response to investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, according to Bloomberg News.
On Friday, Cobb resigned from Hogan Lovells, which was formed in 2010 by a merger of Lovells LLP and Hogan & Hartson.
Cobb could not be reached for comment Sunday.
In experience, talent and ability, Cobb is similar to special counsel Robert Mueller, who leads the investigation, Vicinanzo said Sunday.
As a federal prosecutor in the 1990s, Vicinanzo was in charge of a task force investigating alleged campaign-finance violations.
Cobb was defending John Huang, a Democratic fundraiser for former President Bill Clinton during the 1996 presidential election. The GOP characterized Huang as a Chinese Communist agent trying to influence the election for Democrats, Vicinanzo said in an email.
“At some point, Ty allowed me to meet his client and get to know him. I was surprised to learn, among other things, that Huang was Taiwanese before emigrating to the U.S. as a child, and an evangelical Christian.”
Huang had committed a campaign-finance violation, an offense treated mildly by Democrats and Republicans in those times, Vicinanzo said.
The prosecutor left the meeting with a more accurate perspective on Huang. “He was nothing like the dominant media narrative, twisted as it can become by political machination.”
Huang was sentenced to one year of probation.
“Ty is really good at seeing, and communicating all sides of the issue to prosecutors who, to that point, may have only seen one side. He is smart and can be appropriately combative. Somebody is making good legal decisions if one of them is the decision to hire Ty Cobb.”
Cobb honed his instincts for courtroom battle during six years in the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland, two of them as chief of criminal cases.
In a 2004 Denver Post profile, he described himself as a registered Republican and a “Kansas populist.”
At the time, the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating Denver- based Qwest’s booking of revenues from one-time sales of equipment and fiber-optic swaps, all the while telling investors the income was recurring.
The company erased $2.5 billion in revenues for the years 2000 and 2001 after Wall Street analysts raised questions about Qwest’s accounting. Cobb took on cases of several Qwest executives who were either under investigation or named in lawsuits against the company. He procured settlements for Lewis Wilks, leader of Qwest’s internet and multimedia markets, and Stephen Jacobsen, executive vice president of business markets. Civil cases against both were dismissed, and no charges brought.
The Qwest case was one of the largest corporate malfeasance investigations to arise in Denver.
It’s the kind of case that makes Cobb swoon.
“The more complicated the better, the higher the stakes the better, the more controversial the better,” he said.
“Ty is really good at seeing, and communicating all sides of the issue to prosecutors who, to that point, may have only seen one side.”
David Vicinanzo, head of the government investigations practice at Boston law firm Nixon Peabody