Judge on Cohen case, appointed by Reagan with unanimous Senate confirmation, smeared by right wing

Senior United States District Judge Kimba Wood was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 1988.

Kimba Wood (right)
Kimba Wood (right) at a 2005 party. CREDIT: Neil Rasmus/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Last week, the legal challenge surrounding the raid by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York of the office of Donald Trump’s fixer and attorney Michael Cohen was assigned to Senior United States District Judge Kimba Wood. Though she was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan at the recommendation of then-U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY), the right-wing smear machine has cranked up to attack her.

The lines of attack are the fact that Bill Clinton planned to announce her as his second choice for Attorney General in 1993 (before issues with a former nanny caused her to withdraw her name from consideration), the fact that she briefly worked for the Playboy empire in the 1960s (long before Trump appeared on the magazine’s cover), and the fact that she officiated at the wedding of liberal billionaire George Soros in 2013. With these three irrelevant facts, pro-Trump conspiracy theorists and media outlets determined that Wood’s decision to require Cohen to name all of his legal clients must be a rigged “deep state” attack on Trump.

Conservative and conspiracy-minded media outlets highlighted those details, front and center.  A Fox News headline read: “Who is Kimba Wood? Judge on Cohen case officiated Soros wedding, was Clinton AG pick.” The Washington Times published a story entitled “Judge in Michael Cohen’s case officiated George Soros’ wedding.” The Daily Caller wrote, “Judge In Cohen Case Was Almost Bill Clinton’s AG Nominee.” And InfoWars claimed, “No Joke: Judge who forced Cohen to ID Hannity performed Soros wedding; Leftists stripping away attorney-client privilege.”

The right-wing then went on the attack:


Predictably, these conspiracy claims spread quickly around twitter. As of Wednesday, scores had tweeted about how Wood is part of a “deep state” cabal.

CLARIFICATION: Lawrence O’Donnell, a one-time staffer to then-Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) noted on his MSNBC show The Last Word that Reagan appointed Wood at the request of both D’Amato and Moynihan, as a result of a bipartisan agreement between New York’s U.S. senators. D’Amato praised Wood for her “extraordinary background as a legal scholar” and supported her nomination, but, according to O’Donnell, “really Kimba Wood is a Moynihan judge.”