Dan Cogdell is highly regarded as a “Texas trial legend” by his contemporaries and clients. With over three decades of experience in high-profile criminal and white collar defense, Dan has handled some of the most complex and high-profile criminal matters in the nation. Among Dan’s notable representations are the Enron criminal cases (where his client obtained the only “not guilty” verdict), the Branch Davidian trial and the Houston City Hall bribery case. Dan has served as lead counsel in nearly 300 cases tried before juries in 16 states.

    Dan’s reputation and results have led to numerous professional honors. Dan has been recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer every year since 2002, appeared on the Best Lawyers in America list since 1994 and has been name as Alumnus of the Year by his law school. Dan is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an invitation-only group whose membership is limited to 1% of the lawyers in Texas who have mastered the art of advocacy and meet the highest standards of professionalism.

    Dan is a sought-after commentator in the local, national and international media, where he shares his insight and provides thought leadership on recent ground-breaking, as well as historic, criminal and white collar cases. Dan has shared his analysis on pivotal legal issues and arguments on programs such as the NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, The Today Show, 20/20, CBS 48 Hours, Dateline NBC, The Oxygen Network and American Justice.

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    • Enron Trial – Obtained the only acquittal in any of the Enron original trials. Successfully represented Sheila Kahanek in the Enron-Merrill Lynch trial and obtained the sole acquittal in that (or any other) Enron trial.
    • Continental Savings Trial – Successfully represented Carroll Kelly, the founder and CFO of Continental Savings, charged with Bank Fraud, Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud and Conspiracy. Kelly was acquitted of all charges.
    • Oxford Funding Trial – Lead lawyer and successfully represented Larry Ramming in all charges, which were dismissed after the US district judge ruled that the prosecution had engaged in prosecutorial misconduct and dismissed all charges against all the defendants. The prosecutor in that case was held in contempt, and the court considered the matter so egregious that she was required to be sworn as a witness prior to the court allowing her to answer any questions it propounded.
    • Houston City Hall Scandal Case – Successfully obtained an acquittal for Judge John H. Peavy, who was charged with Conspiracy, Obstruction of Justice, Bribery and Money Laundering.
    • Operation Lightning Strike (NASA Sting) – Defended Dan Stinger in a case that was dismissed by the judge, ruling that there was insufficient evidence, following nearly three weeks of testimony by a myriad of government witness. Stinger had been charged with Government Fraud, Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud and Conspiracy.
    • Texas Slave Ranch Case Trial – Co-counsel (along with mentor Richard “Racehorse” Haynes) for Walter Wesley Ellebracht, Sr. Ellebracht and others were charges with Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity (including Murder, Kidnapping, Torture and Rape). In that trial, Dan literally shocked himself with a cattle prod in front of the jury during the cross examination of the state’s medical examiner, who had testified that such would cause a heart attack. The jury granted probation in that matter.
    • Dr. James Ghadiali – Defended Dr. James Ghadiali, charged with Insurance Fraud, Medicare Fraud, Wire Fraud and Conspiracy. During the cross examination of the government’s primary witness, Dan was able to prove that the testimony was not only factually suspect, but also legally inaccurate. Dr. Ghadiali was fully exonerated after a three-week trial. 
    • Texas v. Johnson – Defended Johnson, Marine veteran and Purple Heart-decorated soldier, in charges of murder of a Rice basketball player and the aggravated assault of his twin brother. Johnson was acquitted of all charges.
    • Alternative Cancer Physician Stanislaw Burzynski – Represented Stanislaw Burzynski, charged with 41 counts of Contempt, as well as Fraud. Burzynski had engaged in a decade-long fight with the US Food and Drug Administration in his belief that his alternative cancer treatment protocol was both necessary and lifesaving. Ultimately, all charges were dismissed.
    • Branch Davidian Trial – Represented Clive Doyle, following a botched raid by the ATF outside of Waco, Texas at the compound of the followers of David Koresh, a 51-day standoff between the FBI and the Branch Davidians. On the 51st day (following the insertion of CS gas by government agents and the intrusion on tanks into the home), a massive fire erupted and approximately 90 people lost their lives in the fire. Like the others, Doyle was charged with Conspiracy, Murder and Attempted Murder of Federal Law Enforcement Officers. He was found not guilty after a month-long trial.
    • Patti LaBelle Bodyguard Trial – Represented Efrem Holmes, a bodyguard for musical legend Patti LaBelle. Holmes was charged following an altercation (caught on videotape) with a West Point Cadet at Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Holmes was acquitted of all charges.
    • New Orleans Water Treatment Corruption Trial – Represented Sal Anzelmo, who was a former New Orleans city attorney charged with Bribery, Corruption and False Statement to a law enforcement agent in connection with the attempted construction of a water treatment facility outside of New Orleans. Anzelmo was found not guilty of all charges.
    • DPS Narcotics Enforcement Chief Trial – Represented Sgt. Robert Nesterhoff, who was a career law enforcement agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety. At the time of his arrest, he was the head of the Narcotics Section. Following his testimony (as a Defense Witness) at a grand jury and trial in Florida, Nesterhoff was charged with Conspiracy, Perjury and Obstruction of Justice. Sgt. Nesterhoff was acquitted of all charges.
    • Judge William Ralph “Layne” Walker Case – Obtained dismissal of all charges against retired Jefferson County District Judge wrongfully charged with Abuse of Official Capacity.


    • South Texas College of Law, J.D., Honors, 1982
    • University of Texas at Austin, B.B.A., 1979


    • Texas, 1982


    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Northern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th and 5th Circuits

    Memberships and Affiliations

    • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
    • Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association
    • American Bar Association
    • State Bar of Texas
    • Houston Bar Association

    • Recognized in Best Lawyer in America and as a Texas Super Lawyer
    • Fellow, American College Trial Lawyers
    • Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, Lawyer of the Year
    • Texas Lawyer, Lifetime Achievement Award
    • Named by his peers to Best Lawyers in America every year since 1996
    • Named by his peers to Super Lawyers every year since 2003
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