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Jailed Roslyn lawyer: Rights were violated

A Roslyn lawyer jailed for scamming people into paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars to adopt nonexistent babies has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Nassau County.

Kevin Cohen, 42, wants Nassau to pay him for damages he says are related to his incarceration for the adoption scheme.

A jury convicted Cohen in November of scamming 13 couples from as far away as Georgia and Texas, persuading them to give him a total of more than $300,000 for adoption expenses. In December, he was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison for multiple counts of second- and third-degree grand larceny, scheming to defraud and forgery.

Now, Cohen, from the Nassau County jail, has filed the lawsuit - hand-printed on lined paper - in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.

Cohen charges that the Nassau Sheriff's Department, the district attorney and the probation department, among others, deprived him of his constitutional right of due process. He is seeking monetary damages.

Cohen states in the lawsuit he was not allowed to leave jail to make a personal appearance concerning a family estate sale, that the court restricted his right to defend himself after he fired his lawyers and that he was assaulted by a correction officer.

In October, before his conviction, prosecutors said Cohen had assaulted an officer at the jail.

Nassau County Attorney John Ciampoli, whose office is handling the lawsuit for the county, said Thursday, "I think that it's fair to say we don't see any of the causes of action that he's advancing."

Cohen could not be reached for comment.

In carrying out the adoption scam, Cohen gave the prospective parents phony sonograms and results of lab tests to convince them that he had real babies for them to adopt.

In one Long Island case, Brigid and Ben Vogt of Seaford paid Cohen $25,000 to adopt a baby boy and learned later of the scheme.

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