The legal team for Donald Trump, a famously fickle and combative client, on Friday was in tumult again as the former president faces federal charges for allegedly mishandling classified documents at his Florida home.

Trump said he was turning to different lawyers to fight the charges against him and suggested that two of his top attorneys would be departing the case.

“For purposes of fighting the Greatest Witch Hunt of all time, now moving to the Florida Courts, I will be represented by Todd Blanche, Esq., and a firm to be named later,” Trump said on social media.

“I want to thank Jim Trusty and John Rowley for their work, but they were up against a very dishonest, corrupt, evil, and ‘sick’ group of people, the likes of which has not been seen before. We will be announcing additional lawyers in the coming days,” Trump wrote.

The two attorneys — Rowley and Trusty — quickly issued a statement saying they had quit.

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Ongoing investigations involving Donald Trump
Donald Trump has been charged in the classified documents case, the second time he’s been indicted since March. Get live updates.
Donald Trump is facing historic legal scrutiny for a former president, under investigation by the Justice Department, district attorneys in Manhattan and Fulton County, Ga., and a state attorney general. He denies wrongdoing. Here is a list of the key investigations and where they stand.
Mar-a-Lago classified documents investigation
FBI agents found more than 100 classified documents during a search of Trump’s residence at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 8 as part of a criminal probe into possible mishandling of classified information. On June 8, Trump was indicted in the case. The indictment has been unsealed — read the full text here.
Justice Department criminal probe of Jan. 6
The Justice Department is investigating the Jan. 6 riot and whether Trump or his aides may have conspired to obstruct the formal certification in Congress of the election result or committed fraud to block the peaceful transfer of power. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed veteran prosecutor Jack Smith to oversee both this and the Mar-a-Lago investigation.
Georgia election results investigation
Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis (D) is investigating whether Trump and his allies illegally meddled in the 2020 election in Georgia. A Georgia judge on Feb. 15 released parts of a report produced by a special-purpose grand jury, and authorities who are privy to the report will decide whether to ask a new grand jury to vote on criminal charges.
Manhattan district attorney’s investigation
District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) convened a grand jury to evaluate business-related matters involving Trump, including his alleged role in hush-money payments to the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign. On March 30, the grand jury voted to indict Trump, making him the first ex-president to be charged with a crime. Here’s what happens next.
Lawsuit over Trump business practices in New York
Attorney General Letitia James (D) filed a lawsuit Sept. 21 against Trump, three of his children and the Trump Organization, accusing them of flagrantly manipulating the valuations of their properties to get better terms on loans and insurance policies, and to get tax breaks. The litigation is pending.


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In a joint statement, they said they had “tendered our resignations as counsel to President Trump, and we will no longer represent him on either the indicted case or the January 6 investigation.”

Rowley and Trusty said that since the Trump indictment has been filed in Miami “this is a logical moment for us to step aside and let others carry the cases through to completion.”

The pair called it “an honor to have spent the last year defending him, and we know he will be vindicated in his battle against the Biden Administration’s partisan weaponization of the American justice system.”

Blanche, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer who was most recently a partner at the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, joined Trump’s legal team this year to defend him in a criminal prosecution in Manhattan.

Trump’s legal team has been marked by months of infighting, and the team has been seeking high-powered South Florida criminal defense attorneys for at least the past couple of weeks, according to people familiar with the local efforts.

One lawyer who turned down Trump as a client was David O. Markus, who most recently succeeded in defending former Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum against allegations he lied to the FBI and funneled campaign money to personal accounts. He also represented Hillary Clinton in Trump’s failed lawsuit against her. Reached on Friday, Markus declined to comment.

Trump’s team has also talked to Benedict P. Kuehne, who is well known in Miami-Dade County for representing people charged in state and federal courts on corruption cases. In 2014, he secured the acquittal of a Miami-area mayor accused by federal officials of taking a cash kickback in the restroom of a sports bar. Kuehne on Friday declined to comment.

Veteran Florida litigator Christopher Kise, who joined the team last fall before being quickly alienated by Trump’s other defense lawyers, was said to have a role in the search, according to Trump advisers.

Trusty signaled last night during an interview on CNN that there could be changes to the legal team after he demurred when asked if he would appear with Trump at his arraignment Tuesday. Trump advisers familiar with the matter said the departure of Trusty and Rowley came, at least in part, because of their repeated clashes with another lawyer, Boris Epshteyn.

The Washington Post has previously reported that lawyers on Trump’s team had threatened to resign due to repeated clashes with Epshteyn. In April, Tim Parlatore quit after Trusty, Rowley and Parlatore demanded that Epshteyn recuse himself from the Mar-a-Lago documents case. Epshteyn, however, continued to insert himself as Trump’s in-house counsel.

“There are certain individuals that made defending the president much harder than it needed to be,” Parlatore said on CNN last month after he resigned from the team, before specifically naming Epshteyn.

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History of investigations involving Donald Trump
In addition to his involvement in more than 4,000 lawsuits over the course of his half-century in real estate, entertainment and politics, Donald Trump has been the subject of investigations by federal, state and regulatory authorities in every decade of his long career.
Federal investigators accuse Trump and his father of discriminating against Black New Yorkers in renting out apartments. Case settles with no admission of guilt, but Trump has to run ads pledging not to discriminate.
Federal investigators look into whether Trump gave apartments in his Trump Tower to organized crime-connected figures to keep his project on track. Trump denies the allegation. Separately, New Jersey officials probe Trump’s ties with mob figures, then grant him a casino license.
New Jersey regulators investigate Trump’s finances and conclude he “cannot be considered financially stable,” yet extend his casino license to protect jobs at his Atlantic City hotel.
Federal securities regulators cite Trump’s casino for downplaying negative results in financial reporting.
New York state sues Trump, alleging his Trump University defrauded more than 5,000 people. Trump is found personally liable. After Trump becomes president, he is impeached — and acquitted — over allegations that he solicited foreign interference in the U.S. presidential election.
Trump is impeached — and acquitted — a second time for incitement of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. New York state sues Trump, alleging he falsely inflated assets to mislead lenders. He is also under criminal investigation for events surrounding Jan. 6 and his handling of classified documents.


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Epshteyn, who is close to Trump, is disliked by some of his other advisers.

Epshteyn has taken the most optimistic view of Trump’s defense, with even the president sometimes mocking him for his sunny predictions. Trump advisers said that the former president will occasionally wave around his phone to show others that Epshteyn is calling and will mockingly predict he is about to get good news.

At one dinner this year at Trump’s golf club, Trump joked that Epshteyn would tell him everything was “great” even as he was being hauled off in handcuffs, according to people with knowledge of the comment.

Multiple Trump advisers said Epshteyn helped kneecap Kise, a longtime respected Florida litigator. Other lawyers have clashed in fights that have had to be mediated by Trump and his advisers.

Kise, for his part, has told others, The Post has previously reported, that much of the heartache could have been avoided if Trump and his team simply had taken a more cooperative stance with the Department of Justice.

Blanche was also representing Epshteyn for the classified documents case, and he remains his attorney.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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