Dan Cogdell: Where is the Attorney Now?

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As a five-episode series we can only describe as the baffling and intriguing sequel to Paramount’s ‘Waco’ (2018), Showtime’s ‘Waco: The Aftermath‘ (2023) is truly a production unlike any other. That’s because it delves deep into the reality of what precisely transpired following the catastrophic early 1993 siege by the federal authorities against the titular Texan Branch Davidian sect. Amongst those to thus be carefully portrayed in this original is attorney Dan Cogell — so now, if you simply wish to learn more about him as well as his current standing, we’ve got you covered.

Who is Dan Cogdell?

It was reportedly back when Dan was relatively young that he first developed an interest in our justice system and the rightfulness behind it all, just for it to continue expanding as he grew older. However, the Stratford High School graduate still chose to pursue a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin before even thinking of dipping his toes in law. In other words, he only enrolled at South Texas College of Law-Houston in 1979 to obtain his Juris Doctorate upon completely understanding his innate skills, passions, intentions, and dreams.

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“I became a lawyer for one primary reason, and that reason [apart from helping others] was to be able to work for a fella by the name of Richard “Racehorse” Haynes,” Dan once candidly admitted. “In his day, in the late 70s-early 80s, Mr. Haynes was the most prominant criminal lawyer in the country. [He] was an icon and deservedly so… I learned everything from Mr. Haynes.” After all, following a year as a Briefing Attorney at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, he’d managed to land a spot at his mentor’s firm, Haynes and Fullenweider, where he worked for nearly five years.

The intense first-hand experience Dan had attained alongside Richard is actually what helped him establish his own firm in 1988, just to still be associated with it despite the decades gone by. In fact, when Waco happened in 1993, and he was subsequently asked to represent Branch Davidian survivor Clive Doyle on a voluntary basis, he was a Partner-Shareholder at Cogdell Law Firm. Though he agreed to take this case only after meeting his client as he realized Clive wasn’t “some absolute lunatic” in a cult but just a normal man with ardent, unwavering religious beliefs.

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“I was gripped like everyone else in the nation,” Dan recently revealed while referring to the actual siege. “There were only 15 or 20 television channels back then, and it was the lead story on every channel. ‘The wackos from Waco.’ I totally bought into it… It wasn’t until the fire that the horror and wrongfulness really slapped me in the face. It was around noon on April 19, I was in a misdemeanor court, a DWI trial. The judge stopped the trial and turned the news on. We all just sat there watching it. It was like 9/11, where you couldn’t take your eyes off it. I became more open-minded to how outrageous the government’s misconduct was.”

Dan Cogdell Continues to Serve as a Trail Lawyer

Once the Waco trial with charges related to the deaths of 4 Bureau of Alcohol, Fire, Tobacco, and Explosives agents ultimately came to a close, Dan was proud his client was acquitted of all counts. Yet, he was also disappointed since most of his fellow defendants were convicted of at least a few firearm or manslaughter charges, driving him to be quite fiercely protective of this entire matter. Therefore, he has hence given several interviews to reveal the whole story rather than merely sticking to the narrative of federal agencies — he believes mistakes were made on both sides.

As for Dan’s current standing, he continues to reside in Houston, Texas, to this day, where he proudly serves as not just a Trial Lawyer for Cogdell Law Firm but also a Partner at Jones Walker LLP. He actually has nearly 300 jury trials (most successful) in over twenty different states under his belt as of writing, making it no surprise he has been recognized as a Super Lawyer for over a decade. In fact, apart from the Branch Davidian Trial, he has even obtained a not guilty verdict in other high-profile cases such as that of cancer treatment physician Dr. Stanislaw Burzinski and the Enron matter.

Coming to Dan’s opinions on the Waco massacre as well as its equally brutal aftermath being chronicled in two different miniseries’ following nearly three decades, he believes it to be imperative. “I think it was the beginning of the great divide that we’re in today,” the proud husband, father, and grandfather, for whom his family is admittedly his top priority, said. “The Branch Davidian case was a very polarizing event. When the government engages in that sort of misconduct, and when it’s played out, when it’s live-streamed, it leaves a mark. In politics today, there’s never been a bigger cleavage, a bigger distance between the right and the left.”

Read More: Is Waco: The Aftermath’s Angie Graham Based on a Real Person?