Dan Cogdell is a legal legend in Houston, known for taking on high-profile cases and achieving seemingly impossible victories. But perhaps his most notable case was his representation of Branch Davidian Clive Doyle in the aftermath of the Waco disaster.
It was April 19, 1993, when federal agents raided the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. The standoff resulted in a 51-day siege that ended with a deadly fire that killed 76 people, including Branch Davidian leader David Koresh.
In the wake of the disaster, the government was eager to assign blame and seek justice. And that’s where Dan Cogdell came in. He took on the case of Clive Doyle, a Branch Davidian survivor who stood trial on federal murder conspiracy charges related to the siege.
Cogdell knew the odds were against him. The public was angry and wanted someone to pay for what had happened in Waco. But Cogdell was determined to give Doyle a fair trial and defend him to the best of his abilities.
After a grueling trial, Cogdell achieved what many thought was impossible: a not guilty verdict for Clive Doyle. It was a major victory — not just for Doyle but for Cogdell and his team, who had put everything on the line to defend their client.
Now, decades later, Cogdell’s work in the courtroom is being profiled in a new five-part series from Showtime and Paramount+ called Waco: The Aftermath. Actor Giovanni Ribisi stars as Dan Cogdell, bringing the attorney’s larger-than-life personality to the small screen.
The series, premiering April 14, is a gripping portrayal of one of Houston’s most legendary attorneys. For those who remember the Waco disaster and its aftermath, it will be a powerful reminder of the human toll of justice, the ramifications of government overreach and the importance of fighting for what’s right.