Florida Lawyers Reject Trump Case

Multiple attorneys decline to join former president's legal team ahead of arraignment
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2023 6:49 AM CDT
Florida Lawyers Reject Trump Case
Former President Trump arrives at Trump National Doral resort in Doral, Fla., Monday, June 12, 2023.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A day before his arraignment in Miami federal court, former President Trump spent his Monday afternoon scrambling to find a Florida lawyer to join his legal team. Two lawyers on Trump's defense team, Jim Trusty and John Rowley, resigned suddenly after his indictment on charges of mishandling classified documents and obstructing the government's efforts to get them back. That followed the April resignation of Tim Parlatore and the recusal of Evan Corcoran, who was forced to testify against his client, increasing the need for a well-respected local lawyer familiar with the lay of the land, the Washington Post reports. But though Trump interviewed several prospective lawyers after flying into Miami on Monday, he didn't find any takers, the Guardian reports.

"Multiple" lawyers declined to represent the former president, who has a reputation "as a difficult client—he eschews legal advice, sometimes issues public threats to engage in illegal activity and frequently skips out on his legal bills," per the Post. There is also "the perceived reputational damage that could come from defending the former president ... not just because of his politics but also because of the strength of the indictment," per the Guardian. Though Trump previously obtained Florida-based lawyer Lindsey Halligan, her focus has been on insurance claims, per the Post. And after Monday's failed search, Trump is to be represented Tuesday by two of his other existing attorneys: former federal prosecutor Todd Blanche and former Florida solicitor general Christopher Kise.

Kise will sponsor Blanche, who is not licensed to practice in Florida, but his appearance will be "a one-off," per the Guardian. The lawyer "previously reduced his role in the case over disagreements with Trump's legal strategy," per the Post. Trump's team is reportedly split over two courses of action: one aggressive, one more traditional. In the first, his team would accuse the Justice Department of "weaponizing the legal system against Trump," per the Post. In the second, based on fears that the first would alienate a jury and the nation, his team would focus on "careful jury selection" as a single juror's doubts would be enough for Trump to avoid conviction. Kise favored a less aggressive approach to the Justice Department, per Salon, which could indicate which strategy prevails. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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