Mickey Cohen FBI Files
1,755 pages of FBI files covering Mickey Cohen.
Mickey Cohen was born on July 29, 1914, in Brownville, New York. Cohen's family moved to Los Angeles when he was six-years-old, where his family opened a pharmacy in Boyle Heights. During prohibition, Cohen's brother ran a gin mill in the back of the pharmacy and Mickey made the deliveries. Mickey Cohen was first arrested at age nine while making a delivery. Cohen became obsessed with boxing. After success in illegal backroom prize fights, he moved back to the east coast to pursue a boxing career. The boxing world allowed Cohen to meet New York area mobsters such as Tommy Dioguardi, Johnny Dio, and Owney Madden. When Cohen's skill in street fighting did not translate into success in the boxing ring against professional boxers, he sought a career change.
Mickey Cohen moved to Chicago to work as an enforcer for east coast mob gambling interests. After a failed attempt on Cohen's life, he moved to Cleveland. In Cleveland, Cohen worked for Lou Rothkopf, who was an associate of Benjamin Siegel and Meyer Lansky. Rothkopf sent Cohen back to Los Angeles to work with Bugsy Siegel. In Los Angeles Cohn and Bugsy Siegel became the east coat syndicate's satellite on the west coast. They brought an east coast style to gambling, drugs, union, and political corruption rackets on the west coast. After Siegel was killed in 1947, Cohen became the east coast syndicate's main muscle on the west coast. When Frank Carbo of the Dragna crime family asserted control over the west coast, Cohen remained and ran their gambling interests. Cohen's violent techniques drew the attention of law enforcement and the press. With the spotlight on Cohen, several attempts were made on Cohen's life and his home was bombed. Scrutiny brought by the Kefauver Commission in 1950, led to Cohen being sentenced to prison for four years for tax evasion. In 1961 Cohen was sentenced to 15 years for tax evasion, and sent off to Alcatraz. Two years into his sentence, another inmate attacked Cohen with a pipe, leaving him partially paralyzed. Cohen was released from prison in 1972. Mickey Cohen died in his sleep in 1976.
Files contain approximately 1,300 narrative pages, dating from 1949 to 1976. Information in the files include: A memo giving an account of the 1949 shooting of Cohen. Memos from 1949 concerning the bugging of Cohen during the 1940's and the possibility he knew that listening devices were planted. A 1950 memo gives an account of the bombing of Cohen's Brentwood home. An investigation into a possible kidnapping of someone from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to secure payment of a gambling debt to Cohen, which the alleged victim denied happened.
A 1960, 280 page report, with updates issued in 1961, gives summaries of a wide range of aspects of Mickey Cohen's life including: personal history, relatives, military record, employment, criminal arrest rap sheet going back to 1933, criminal activities, traffic violations, murders in which Cohen is suspected of having involvement, civil suits filled by Cohen, his associates, his attorney, Cohen's bail bondsmen, World War II black-market operations, bookmaking and gambling activities, association with Bugsy Siegel, gambling establishments in Los Angeles, illegal union activities, prostitution, vending machine business, financial information, Cohen's automobiles, legitimate businesses, income tax evasion, places of amusement and hangouts, personal habits and peculiarities, and more.
Contains memos concerning FBI involvement in Cohen's 1961 tax evasion prosecution, which lead to a conviction and a 15 year sentence. Details of a prison nurse smuggling in contraband for Mickey Cohen, supplied by Harry Cohen, and her passing out communications from Mickey Cohen. Information concerning a lawsuit for $10 million filled by Cohen against the government claiming negligence, after he was severely beaten by another inmate while severing a 15 year sentence for tax evasion at the U.S. Penitentiary at Atlanta, Georgia. Summaries of interviews and memos concerning an investigation into an illegal mortgage racket in Florida. Information concerning his relationship with Frank Sinatra.
The disc contains a text transcript of all recognizable text embedded into the graphic image of each page of each document, creating a searchable finding aid. Text searches can be done across all files in the collection.