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Fort Lauderdale, Fla., lawyer Bradford Cohen is gunning to become the next reality TV superstar. Judging from his performance last week during the second-season premiere of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice,” he just might have a shot. He led his team to victory in the first assignment — to develop a new toy for boys from ages 6 to 8. “I’m the guy who points to center field and knocks it out of the park,” Cohen said during the season’s first episode, referring to the legendary Babe Ruth home run feat. Cohen, 33, a bachelor and Massachusetts native who got his law degree from Nova Southeastern University, is one of 18 candidates vying to join Trump’s real estate and hotel empire. During the period Cohen was in New York City taping the show, his three-lawyer firm, Bradford Cohen Law, which specializes in criminal defense, personal injury and commercial litigation, was run by associate Jose Izquierdo. On this season of “The Apprentice” on NBC, Cohen and his rivals are split into two teams and assigned a business task while living together in a plush suite in one of Trump’s towers in Manhattan. Each week, one candidate on the losing team will hear Trump utter the dreaded words “You’re fired.” The last man or woman standing will win a six-figure job running one of Trump’s multimillion-dollar projects. Last season, Bill Rancic, a 32-year-old entrepreneur from Chicago, beat out Harvard University business graduate Kwame Jackson in a tense final competition to win the coveted position of Trump’s apprentice. This season’s competition is just as tough. The nine female and nine male candidates include Harvard business grads, a self-taught stockbroker, real estate entrepreneurs and a former military intelligence officer. Last Thursday, Rob Flanagan, a 32-year-old corporate branding salesman from Frisco, Texas, got the Trump heave-ho. That whittled the field to 17. But Izquierdo said he had no doubt that his partner could win — which would mean leaving the firm to join the Trump organization. “Brad’s a man’s man,” said Izquierdo, already sounding like a Hollywood agent. “He’s one of these gutsy guys who sucks the marrow out of life. On top of that, he’s the most business-savvy person I know.” DEFENDED UNIVERSITY LINEBACKER Cohen’s decision to apply to “The Apprentice” was prompted by water-cooler conversations with co-workers during the first season of the show. Every Friday morning, Cohen and his officemates would pick apart the candidates’ performances from the previous night. “After each show, Brad would say what he would have done in that situation,” Izquierdo said. “Whatever he said was brilliant. After watching a couple of shows, I told him, ‘You’d probably tear that apart.’” Because of a strict confidentiality agreement he signed with NBC, Cohen, now back practicing law in Fort Lauderdale, said earlier this month that he could not comment for this article. But according to his biography on “The Apprentice” Internet site, he is a “successful trial lawyer” and a real estate investor who owns commercial and residential property in South Florida. In the legal realm, Cohen is known most recently for defending University of Miami linebacker Willie Williams. The 19-year-old recruit was charged with violating his probation by setting off fire extinguishers in a hotel and hugging a female student against her will during a recruiting trip in Gainesville in January. Williams pleaded no contest to the charges in July. Because he was already on probation for a 2002 burglary, Williams could have gone to jail on the new offenses. But Broward Circuit Judge Michael Kaplan gave him a break and only extended his probation three years and ordered him to perform 250 hours of community service. CAN’T BE FIRED During the first episode of “The Apprentice” last Thursday, Trump split the groups into the women against the men, then told the candidates that one member of each team had to defect to the other side. Cohen rose to the challenge. After a brief discussion about whether to select a defector by drawing names from a hat, Cohen told his male teammates he didn’t mind joining the female team. Soon he was sitting in a Mattel boardroom with eight high-powered women arguing over what kind of toy a 6-year-old boy would like. The team ultimately decided on a remote control truck with removable parts. That easily beat the other team’s idea — “Crustacean Nation” action figures. As project manager of the winning team, Cohen won high marks for being a decisive leader with a likeable, easygoing style. Because of that victory, he gets a free pass and cannot be fired during the second episode — even if his team loses. That means Cohen will remain on the show until at least the third week. Editor’s note: Spoiler alert for TiVo users and others! In a surprise move that set fan Web sites buzzing, Cohen confidently waived his precious immunity this week. But that feeling of invincibility proved his undoing. By the second episode’s end, Trump said that, although Cohen was the “best one,” his impulsive decision was the sort that could ruin a company. The upshot: Cohen, who had begun the day under a protective halo, was — you’ve guessed it — fired. So, his run on “The Apprentice” was short-lived. But will the lawyer’s flair for drama attract a new round of reality TV show offers? Stay tuned.

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