All The President’s Lawyers
Today The Washington Post has a story about how Trump is scrambling to assemble a legal team in response to the search of his home, and likely pending criminal prosecutions across multiple jurisdictions. In the words of The Washington Post:
“The former president’s current legal team includes a Florida insurance lawyer who’s never had a federal case, a past general counsel for a parking-garage company and a former host at far-right One America News.”
WaPo mostly attributes Trump struggling to find lawyers willing to represent him to his notorious stiffing of contractors (including his own lawyers) and his just being a high maintenance, difficult client.
With all due respect, I think The Washington Post is missing the obvious. Let’s take a look at some of Trump’s prior lawyers and how their representation of him worked out for them.
- Michael Cohen: Convicted, jailed and disbarred. Sentenced to three years in Federal prison, for among other things, lying on behalf of Trump. The statement of facts for his plea agreement treats Trump as co-conspirator in some of Cohen’s crimes.
- Rudy Giuliani: License to practice law suspended for frivolous election challenge filings and lying about election challenges on Trump’s behalf. Disciplinary action for permanent loss of his Bar license pending. Currently the target of a criminal investigation in Fulton County Georgia. Potential target for Federal criminal prosecution as his phone and offices were the subject of search warrants with his electronic devices seized.
- John Eastman: Architect of the plan for Mike Pence to unilaterally throw out electoral college votes to orchestrate Trump coup. Likely target of a federal criminal investigation, recently had his phone seized pursuant to a search warrant. Disciplinary action by California Bar pending. Likely target in Fulton County Georgia grand jury investigation. A Federal Judge determined it is likely Trump and Eastman committed two major felonies.
- Jeff Clark: Central figure in the plot to fire the Acting United States Attorney General for not supporting Trump’s election lies. Bar disciplinary action pending. Home was recently searched pursuant to a probable cause warrant suggesting he is likely a target of a federal criminal investigation.
- Sidney Powell: Leader of “Team Kraken” and its dozens of court failures challenging the election. Sanctioned by a federal judge in Michigan for filing frivolous pleadings and referred by the judge to the State Bar for disciplinary action which is pending. Potential target in Fulton County Georgia criminal investigation. Under Federal investigation for potentially diverting funds from a PAC to her defense expenses. Defendant in a massive lawsuit by Dominion Voting Machines that has survived preliminary motions to dismiss.
- Lin Wood: Another member of Team Kraken also sanctioned by the Michigan Federal judge with referral to the State Bar with disciplinary action pending. Likely a target in the Fulton County Georgia grand jury investigation.
- Jenna Ellis: A leader in the false election claims in Georgia is likely a target of the Fulton County grand jury investigation.
- Joseph diGenova: Worked with Ellis in Georgia and also likely a target of the Fulton County grand jury investigation.
- Victoria Toensing: Married to Joseph diGenova and also likely a target in Fulton County. Toensing was the subject of a search warrant that seized her phone and iCloud records.
While it may seem to be going on too long, this list is not complete. Amazingly, Trump attorneys continue to engage in potentially illegal conduct on his behalf. An as yet to be identified Trump attorney is reported to have a signed a letter in June to the Department of Justice certifying that no more classified documents were retained at Mar-a-Lago. It is now known that is not true. Whoever that lawyer is should be very concerned for potential prosecution for false statements under 18 U.S.C. § 1001.
Getting sanctioned by judges, facing Bar disciplinary action, being subjected to search warrants, and facing potential indictments as targets in criminal investigations, are not fun gigs for attorneys. They do not make money and are not career enhancing. Such is the fate of many Trump attorneys as Trump is perfectly happy to let them take the fall. That is exactly what happened to Michael Cohen, and many are now potentially on a similar path to what sent him to prison.
I respectfully submit to The Washington Post that the experiences of these attorneys has as much to do with so many competent attorneys now declining to accept him as a client.